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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 



I 




THE 
THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 



Translated Works of 
RUDOLPH STEINER, Ph.D. 



The Philosophy of Freedom 

An Outline of Occult Science 

The Lord's Prayer 

The Gates of Knowledge 

Philosophy and Theosophy 

Three Essays on Haeckel and on Karma 

The Education of Children 

The Occult Significance of Blood 

Atlantis and Lemuria 

The Way of Initiation 

Initiation and its Results 

Theosophy 

The Mystics of the Renaissance 

Christianity as Mystical Fact 

A Road to Self- Knowledge 

The Threshold of the Spiritual World 



THE 

THREEFOLD 
COMMONWEALTH 

Authorized Translation by E. Bowen-Wedgwood 



BY 
RUDOLPH STEINER 

Author^of I'The Philosophy of Freedom,' 
"Die Sociale Zukunft," etc. 



LONDON 

The Threefold Commonwealth 

46, Gloucester Place, W. i. 

NEW YORK 

The Threefold Commonwealth Publishing Association 

701, Carnegie Hall 

All rights reserved 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



COPYRIOHT, 1922, 

By RUDOLPH STEINER 



Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1922. 



FERRIS PRINTING COMPANY 
NEW YORK 






i A FOREWORD AS TO THE 
PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK 

^ The social life of the present day pre- 

sents grave and far-reaching problems. 
We are confronted by demands for social 
reconstruction, which shew that the solu- 
tion of these problems must be sought along 
paths unthought-of hitherto. Borne out 
by the actual events of the hour, the time 
has perhaps come for someone to gain 
a hearing, who is forced by life's experi- 
ence to maintain, that the neglect to turn 
our thoughts into the paths that are now 
needed has stranded us in confusion and 
perplexity. It is under that conviction that 
this book is written. Its purpose is to dis- 
cuss what needs doing, in order that those 



212435 



vi FOREWORD 

demands, which are being urged by a large 
part of .mankind to-day, may be turned in 
the direction of a determinate social will 
and purpose. 

Personal likes and dislikes should enter 
but little into the formation of a social 
purpose. The demands, welcome or un- 
welcome, are there; and they must be 
reckoned with as facts of social life. This 
should be borne in mind by those who, 
from their personal situation in life, may 
be inclined to be annoyed at the author's 
way of discussing the demands of the 
working-class, because in their opinion he 
lays too one-sided a stress on these de- 
mands, as on something that must be reck- 
oned with when determining on a social 
purpose. But what the author wants, is 
to present life as it exists to-day in all its 
full reality, in so far as he is able from 
his knowledge of it. He has ever before 
his eyes the fatal consequences that must 
ensue, if people refuse to see facts, which 
are actually there, which have arisen out 
of the life of modern mankind, — and if 



FOREWORD vü 

they accordingly persist in ignoring a so- 
cial will and purpose in which these facts 
find their place. 

Those people again will not be pleased 
with the author's remarks, who regard 
themselves as experts in practical life, — or 
in what, under the influence of fond habit, 
has come to be regarded as practical life. 
They will be of opinion, that whoever 
wrote this book was not a practical person. 
These are just the people, who, in the au- 
thor's opinion, have everything to unlearn 
and re-learn. Their practice of life seems 
to him the very thing, which is demon- 
strated by the actual facts from which 
mankind are suffering to be an utter mis- 
take, — that very mistake that has led to 
boundless and immeasurable fatalities. 
These people will be obliged to recognise 
the practicability of much that has seemed 
to them absurd idealism. And although 
they may condemn this book at the out- 
set, because its opening pages say less 
about the economic than about the spiritual 
life of modern mankind, yet the author's 



»* 



viü FOREWORD 

own acquaintance with life forces him to 
the conviction, that, unless people can bring 
themselves to pay due and accurate atten- 
tion to the spiritual life of modern man- 
kind, they will only go on adding fresh 
mistakes to the old ones. 

Neither will what is said in these pages 
altogether please those, who are for ever 
repeating with endless variations the 
phrases: that man must rise above ab- 
sorption in purely material interests, — 
that he must turn to "ideals," to the things 
of the ''spirit." For the author does not 
attach much importance to mere references 
to the ''spirit" or to talk about a vague 
spiritual world. The only spirituality he 
can acknowledge, is that which forms the 
substance of man's own life and manifests 
its power no less in mastering the practical 
problems of life than in constructing a 
philosophy of life and of the universe, 
which can satisfy the needs of man's soul. 
The important point, is not the knowledge, 
— or supposed knowledge, — of a spiritual 
life, but that such a spiritual life shews it- 



FOREWORD ix 

self in a practical grip of realities, and is 
not a special preserve for the inner life 
of the soul, a backwater alongside the full 
tide of realities. 

And so, what is said in these pages will 
seem to the "spiritually-minded" too un- 
spiritual, to ''practical persons" too remote 
from practice. But the author's view is, 
that he may have his own special use at 
the present time, for the very reason, that 
he neither tends towards that aloofness 
from life, which is to be found in many a 
man who thinks himself practical, nor yet 
can hold in any way with the kind of talk 
about the spirit, which conjures up a mir- 
age out of words. 

It is as a question of economics, of hu- 
man rights and of the spirit, that the social 
question is discussed in this book. The 
author thinks that he perceives, how the 
true form of the social question emerges 
as an outcome of the requirements of the 
economic life, the life of ''rights" and the 
spiritual life. Through such a perception 
alone can the impulses come, which shall 



X FOREWORD 

make it possible to give these three 
branches of social life a shape that permits 
of healthy life within the social order. In 
the earlier ages of mankind's evolution, the 
social instincts secured these three 
branches being woven together in the 
whole life of society in a manner adapted 
to human nature at that period. At the 
present stage of his evolution, man is faced 
with the necessity of w^orking out this 
combination of function by conscious, de- 
terminate social will and purpose. Be- 
tween those earlier ages and the present, in 
the countries where the question of a so- 
cial purpose is most immediate, we find the 
old instincts and the new consciousness 
overlapping and playing through one an- 
other in a fashion quite inadequate to the 
needs of modern mankind. In a great deal 
of social thinking, which people believe to 
be clear-sighted and conscious, the old in- 
stincts are still at work and enfeeble men's 
thought for dealing with urgent facts. It 
requires a much more radical effort than 
is usually supposed, for the man of the 



FOREWORD xi 

present day to work his way out of the 
husks of what is dead and done with. 

One must first be willing to recognise 
this fully, before, in the author's opinion, 
it is possible to see the forms that indus- 
trial economy, human rights, and spiritual 
life must take, in order to be in keeping 
with a healthy social life such as the new 
age demands. What the author feels 
called on to say as to the lines that these 
new forms must inevitably follow, is sub- 
mitted to the judgment of the day in 
the following pages. The author's desire, 
is to give the first impetus along a path, 
that shall lead to social ends in keeping 
with the actual realities and exigencies of 
life at the present time; for he believes, 
that it is only through effort thus directed 
that our social will and purpose can get 
beyond mere utopianism and wordy senti- 
ment. 

And if anyone still thinks that this book 
has somewhat of a Utopian character, the 
author would ask him to consider the pic- 
tures which people draw in their own 



xli FOREWORD 

minds of the kind of society that they look 
to see arise, — how very wide of Hfe such 
pictures are, and how apt to degenerate 
into mere moonshine. That is the very 
reason, why, when these people do meet 
with something that is drawn from actual 
reality and experience, — as attempted 
here, — they regard it as a Utopia. To 
many persons, nothing is "concrete" out- 
side their own customary line of thought; 
and so the concrete itself is to them an ab- 
straction, when they are unaccustomed to 
think it.(§) — Hence they will think this 
book abstract. 



Beginning of April, 1919. 

(§) The author in the following pages has deliber- 
ately avoided confining himself to the terms in common 
use in standard treatises on political economy. He 
knows quite well the places which a technical economist 
will pick out as being amateurish. But he has selected 
his mode of expression, partly because he desires to 
address himself also to persons who are not familiar 
with the literature of sociology and economics, but 
chiefly, because it is his opinion, that most of what is 
peculiarly technical in such writings will be shewn by a 
new age to be partial and defective, even in the very 
form of its expression. 

It may also be thought, that some reference should 
have loecn made by the author to other persons, whose 
social ideas bear an incidental resemblance to his own. 



FOREWORD xüi 

With people again, whose minds are har- 
nessed hard and fast to a party-pro- 
gramme, the author's views will at first 
find no favour. Of this he is well aware. 
Still he believes, that it will not be long 
before many party men come to the con- 
clusion, that the actual facts of evolution 
have got far beyond the programmes of 
the parties, and that it is urgently neces- 
sary to free oneself from all such party- 
programmes and to form an independent 
opinion as to the immediate objectives of 
the social will and purpose. 



It must however be remembered, that in the whole con- 
ception here put forward, — a conception which the author 
believes he owes to long years of practical experience, 
— the essential point is not whether a particular thought 
has taken this or that form, but what one takes as one's 
starting-ground, and the road one pursues in giving 
practical realisation to the impulses which underlie this 
conception. As may be seen from Chapter IV, the 
author was already doing what he could to get these 
ideas practically realised, at a time when ideas that 
look in some respect similar had as yet attracted no 
attention. 



JHE THREEFOLD COMMON- 
WEALTH 

Introductory Preface to the New Edition 
of 1920 

The problems presented by social life 
for solution in our times can be under- 
stood by nobody who approaches them 
with the thought of any kind of Utopia in 
his mind. One's views and sentiments 
may lead one to the belief, that certain in- 
stitutions, which one has mapped out ac- 
cording to one's own ideas, must be for the 
happiness of mankind. This belief may 
carry all the force of passionate convic- 
tion; and yet one may be talking quite 
wide of the actual social quehlion, when 
one tries to obtain practical recognition 
for what one believes. 



xvi TUE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

One will find this assertion hold true at 
the present day, even when pushed to what 
may appear an absurd extreme. Suppose, 
for instance, somebody possessed a per- 
fect theoretical solution of the social ques- 
tion, he might nevertheless be acting on 
an utterly unpractical conviction, if he 
tried to press this carefully thought-out 
solution upon mankind. For we are no 
longer living in an age, when one is justi- 
fied in believing that public life can be af- 
fected in such a way. Men's souls are dif- 
ferently constituted; and they could never 
say about public affairs: Here is some- 
body who understands the social institu- 
tions that are needed; we will take his 
opinion and act on it. Ideas concerning 
social life simply cannot be brought home 
to people after this fashion; and it is a 
fact that is fully recognised in this book, 
which is already known to a fairly large 
public. Those who have set it down as 
Utopian, have totally missed its whole aim 
and intention. Especially has this been 
the case with those, who themselves cling 



PREFACE xvii 

to a Utopian form of thought : — they attri- 
bute to the other person what is essentially 
their own mental characteristic. A practi- 
cal thinker to-day recognises as one of the 
experiences of public life, that nothing can 
be done with an Utopian idea, however con- 
vincing it may be in appearance. Never- 
theless, many people have some idea of 
this type, which they feel impelled to bring 
before their fellow-men, especially in the 
field of economics. They will be forced 
to recognise that their words are wasted. 
Their fellow-men can find no use for what 
they have to offer. 

This should be treated as a piece of prac- 
tical experience; for it points to a fact of 
importance in public life: namely, the re- 
moteness of people's thoughts from real 
life: — how wide their thoughts are from 
what reality, — economic reality for in- 
stance, — demands. 

Can one hope to master the 
tangled intricacies of public 
affairs, if one brings to them 
a mode of thought alto- 



xviii THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

get her remote from life? This 
question is not one likely to find general 
favour; for it involves the admission that 
one's way of thought is remote from life. 
Yet, until this admission is made, it is not 
possible to approach the other question — 
the social one. For the remoteness of 
thought from life is a question of grave 
concern for the whole modern civilised 
world; and only when people treat it as 
such will they see light as to what is needed 
for social life. 

This question brings us to the considera- 
tion of the form taken by modern spiritual 
life. Modern man has evolved a spiritual 
life, which is to a very great degree de- 
pendent on state institutions and on eco- 
nomic forces. The human being is brought 
whilst still a child under the education and 
instruction of the state ; and he can be edu- 
cated only in the way permitted by the in- 
dustrial and economic conditions of the en- 
vironment from which he springs. 

It might easily be supposed, that this 
would ensure a person's being well quali- 



PREFACE xix 

fied for the conditions of life at the present 
day, for that the state must possess every 
opportunity of arranging the whole system 
of education and instruction (which con- 
stitutes the essential part of public spirit- 
ual life) in the best interests of the human 
community. It might well be supposed too, 
that the way to make a person the best 
possible member of the human community 
is to educate him in accordance with the 
economic opportunities of the environment 
from which he comes, and then pass him 
on, thus educated, to fill one of the open- 
ings that these opportunities afford him. 
— It devolves upon this book, — an unpopu- 
lar task to-day, — to shew, that the chaotic 
condition of our public life, comes from the 
spiritual life's dependence on the State and 
on industrial economy — and to shew fur- 
ther, that one part of the burning social 
question is the emancipation of spiritual 
life from this dependence. 

This involves attacking very wide- 
spread errors. That the State should take 
over the whole system of education, has 



XX THE THREEFOI-D COMMONWEALTH 

long been regarded as a beneficial step in 
human progress; and persons of a social- 
istic turn of mind find it difficult to con- 
ceive of anything else, than that society 
should educate the individual to its service 
according to its own standards. 

People are loathe to recognise, what nev- 
ertheless, in this field, it is absolutely nec- 
essary should be recognised; namely, that 
in the process of man's historic evolution 
a thing, that at an earlier period was all 
right, may at a later period become all 
wrong. In order that a new age might 
come about in human affairs, it was neces- 
sary that the whole system of education, 
and with it public spiritual life, should be 
removed from those circles that had ex- 
clusive possession of it all through the mid- 
dle ages, and entrusted to the State. But to 
continue to maintain this state of things, 
is a grave social mistake. 

This is what the first part of the book 
is intended to shew. The spiritual life 
has matured to freedom within the frame- 
work of the state; but it cannot rightly 



PREFACE xxi 

enjoy and exercise this freedom unless it 
is granted complete self-government. The 
whole character assumed by the spiritual 
life requires that it should form a com- 
pletely independent branch of the body so- 
cial. The educational and teaching system, 
lying as it does at the root of all spiritual 
life, must be put under the management 
of those people who are educating and 
teaching; and none of the influences at 
work in state or industry should have any 
say or interference in this management. 
No teacher should spend more time on 
teaching than will allow of his also being 
a manager in his own sphere of activity. 
And in the way that he himself conducts 
the teaching and education, so too he will 
conduct the management. Nobody will issue 
instructions, who is not at the same time 
actively engaged in teaching and educat- 
ing. No parliament has any voice in it, — 
nor any individual, who once on a time 
may have taught, but is no longer person- 
all)'' teaching. The experience learnt at 
first hand in actual teaching passes direct 



xxli THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

into the management. — In such a system, 
practical knowledge and efficiency must, 
of course, tell in the very highest possible 
degree. 

It may no doubt be objected, that even 
under such a selfgoverning spiritual life 
things will not be quite perfect. But then, 
in real life, that is not to be looked for. 
All one can aim at, is the best that is pos- 
sible. With each child of man there are 
new abilities growing up, and these will 
really be passed on into the life of the 
community, when the care of developing 
them rests entirely with people who can 
judge and decide on spiritual grounds alone. 
How far a particular child should be 
brought on in one direction or another, 
can only be judged in a spiritual commun- 
ity that is quite free and detached. What 
steps should be taken to ensure their deci- 
sion having its "rights," this too is a mat- 
ter only to be determined by a free spiritual 
community. From such a community the 
State and the economic life can receive the 
forces they need, and which they cannot 



PREFACE xxüi 

get of themselves when they fashion spirit- 
ual life from their own points of view. 

It follows from the whole tenor of the 
following pages, that the directors of the 
free spiritual life will have charge also of 
the arrangements and course of teaching in 
those institutes also, which are specially 
directed to the service of the State or of 
the economic world. — Law-schools, Trades- 
schools, Agricultural and Industrial Col- 
leges, would all take their form from the 
free spiritual life. Many prejudices are 
bound to be aroused, when the principles 
stated in this book are pursued to these, 
their right consequences. But from what 
do such prejudices proceed? The anti- 
social spirit in them becomes evident, when 
one recognises, that at bottom they pro- 
ceed from an unconscious persuasion, that 
people connected with education must nec- 
essarily be unpractical persons, remote 
from life, — not the sort of people whom 
one could for a moment expect to institute 
arrangements that would be of any real 
use for the practical departments of life, 



xxiv THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

and that all such arrangements must be 
instituted by the people actively engaged 
in practical life, whilst the educators must 
work on the lines laid down for them. 

In thinking like this, people do not see, 
that the educators need to fix their lines 
of work themselves, from the smallest 
things up to the biggest, that it is when 
they cannot do so that they grow unpracti- 
cal and remote from life. And then you 
may give them any principle to work on, 
laid down by apparently the most practical 
persons, and yet their education will not 
turn out people really practically equipped 
for life. Our anti-social conditions are 
brought about, because people are turned 
out into social life not educated to feel so- 
cially. People with social feelings can 
only come from a mode of education that 
is directed and carried on by persons who 
themselves feel socially. The social ques- 
tion will never be touched, until the educa- 
tion question and the question of the spir- 
itual life are treated as a vital part of it. 
An anti-social spirit is created not merely 



PREFACE XXV 

by economic institutions, but through the 
attitude of the human beings within these 
institutions being an anti-social one. And 
it is anti-social, to have the young brought 
up and taught by persons, who themselves 
are made strangers to real life by having 
their lines of work and the substance of 
their work laid down for them from out- 
side. 

The State establishes law-schools. And 
it requires, that the substance of the juris- 
prudence taught in these law-schools 
should be the same as the State has fixed 
for its own constitution and administra- 
tion, from its own points of view. When 
the law-schools proceed wholly from a 
free spiritual life, this free spiritual life 
itself will supply the substance of the jur- 
isprudence taught in them. The State will 
wait to take its mandate from the spiritual 
life. It will be fertilised by the reception 
of living ideas, such as can issue only from 
a spiritual life that is free. 

But the human-beings, growing up to 
life, are within the spiritual domain, and 



xxvi THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

will go forth with views of their own to 
put into practice. The education given by 
people who are strangers to life, inside edu- 
cational institutes planned by mere practi- 
cians, — this is not an education that can be 
realised in practice. The only teaching 
that can find practical realisation comes 
from teachers who understand life and its 
practice from a point of view of their own. 
In this book an attempt is made to give at 
least a sketch of the way in which a free 
spiritual organisation will shape its details 
of working. 

In Utopian minds, the book will rouse 
all manner of questions. Artists and other 
spiritual workers will anxiously ask wheth- 
er genius will find itself better ofif in the 
free spiritual life than in the one at present 
provided by the State and the economic 
powers? In putting such questions, how- 
ever, they must please to remember, that 
the book is in no respect intended to be 
Utopian. Hence it never lays down a hard 
and fast theory. This must be so and so, 
or so and so. 



PREFACE xxvii 

Its aim is to promote the formation of 
such forms of human social life, as, from 
their joint working shall lead to desirable 
conditions. And anyone, who judges life 
from experience, and not from theoretic 
prejudice, will say to himself "When there 
is a free spiritual community, whose deal- 
ings with life are guided by its own lights, 
then anyone who is creating out of his own 
free genius will have a prospect of his 
creations being duly appreciated." 

The "social question" is not a thing that 
has cropped up at this particular point in 
the life of man, which can be solved 
straight away by a handful of people, or 
by parliaments, and, once solved, will re- 
main solved. It is an integral part of our 
new civilised life; and it has come to stay. 
It will have to be solved afresh for each 
moment of the world's historic evolution. 
For man's life has entered with this new 
age upon a phase, when what starts by 
being a social institution turns ever and 
again into something a«^/-social, which 
has each time continually to be overcome 



xxviii THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

afresh. Just as an organic body, when it 
has once been fed and satisfied, passes after 
a while into a state of hunger again, so 
the body social passes from one state of 
order again into disorder. There is no 
more a panacea for keeping social condi- 
tions in good order, than there is a food 
that will satisfy the body for ever and al- 
ways. Men can however enter into forms 
of community, which, through their joint 
action in actual life, will bring man's exis- 
tence constantly back into the social path. 
And one of these forms of community is 
the self-governing spiritual branch of the 
body social. 

All the experiences of the present time 
make it plain, that what is socially needed 
is, for the spiritual life free self-adminis- 
tration, and for the economic life associa- 
tive labour. Industrial economy in modern 
human life is made up of the production 
of commodities, circulation of commodi- 
ties and consumption of commodities. 
These are the processes for satisfying hu- 
man wants; and human beings and their 



PREFACE xxix 

activities are involved in these processes. 
Each has his own part-interest in them; 
each must take such a share in them as 
he is able. What any individual actually 
needs, only he himself alone can know and 
feel. As to what he himself should per- 
form, this will be judged by him according 
to his measure of insight into the mutual 
life of the whole. It was not always so; 
nor is it so to-day all the world over; but 
in the main it is so amongst the at present 
civilised portion of the Earth's inhabitants. 
Economic evolution has kept widening its 
circles in the course of mankind's evolu- 
tion. Household economy, once self-con- 
tained, has developed into town economy, 
and this again into State economy. To-day 
we stand before world economy. No 
doubt, in the New much still lingers on of 
the Old ; and much that existed in the Old 
was already a forecast of the New but the 
above evolutionary order is the one that 
has become paramount in certain relations 
of life, and the destinies of mankind are 
conditioned by it. 



XXX THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

It is altogether a wrong-headed notion 
to aim at organising the economic forces 
into an abstract world-community. Pri- 
vate economic organisations have, in the 
course of evolution, become to a very great 
extent merged in State economic organisa- 
tions. But the State communities were 
created by other forces than the purely 
economic ones ; and the endeavour to trans- 
form the State communities into economic 
communities is just what has brought 
about the social chaos of these latter times. 
Economic life is struggling to take the 
form its own peculiar forces give it, inde- 
pendent of State institutions, and independ- 
ent also of State lines of thought. It is 
only possible through the growth of As- 
sociations, having their rise in purely eco- 
nomic considerations, and drawn jointly 
from circles of consumers, traders and 
producers. The actual conditions of life 
will of themselves regulate the size and 
scope of these Associations. Over-small 
Associations would prove too expensive in 
the working ; over-large ones would get be- 



PREFACE xxxi 

yond economic grasp. The needs of life 
as they arise will shew each Association the 
best way of establishing interconnections 
with the others. There need be no fear, 
that anyone, who has to spend his life mov- 
ing about from place to place, will be in 
any way hampered by Associations of this 
kind. He will find removing from one 
group to another quite easy, when it is not 
managed by the State-organisations, but 
by the economic interests. One can conceive 
possible arrangements within such an as- 
sociative system, that would work with the 
facility of a money-currency. 

Within any single Association, where 
there is practical sense and technical 
knowledge, a very general harmony of in- 
terests can prevail. The production, cir- 
culation and consumption of goods will 
not be regulated by laws, but by the per- 
sons themselves, from their own direct in- 
sight and interests. People's own active 
share in the life of the Associations will 
enable them to acquire the necessary in- 
sight ; and the fact, that the various inter- 



xxxii THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ests are obliged to contract a mutual bal- 
ance, will ensure the goods circulating at 
their proper relative values. This sort of 
agreed combination, determined by eco- 
nomic considerations, is not the same as 
the form of combination that exists in the 
modern trades-unions. The activities of 
the modern trades-unions are expended in 
the economic field; but the unions are not 
framed primarily according to economic 
considerations. They are modelled on the 
principles taken from practical familiarity 
in modern times with political considera- 
tions, considerations of state. They are 
parliamentary bodies, where people debate, 
not where they come together to consider 
economic aspects and agree on the services 
to be reciprocally rendered. In these As- 
sociations, it will not be "wage-workers" 
sitting, using their power to get the high- 
est possible wages out of the work-employ- 
er; it will be hand-workers, co-operating 
with the spiritual workers, who direct pro- 
duction, and with those interested in con- 
suming the product, to effect a balance be- 



PREFACE xxxiii 

tween one form of service and another, 
through an adjustment of prices. This is 
not a thing that can be done by general 
debate in parliamentary assembHes. One 
must beware of these. For who would 
ever be at work, if an endless number of 
people had to spend their time negotiating 
about the work! Everything will take 
place by agreement between man and man, 
between one Association and another, 
whilst the work goes on alongside. For 
this, all that is necessary is, that the joint 
agreement should be in accordance with the 
inside knowledge of the workers and with 
the interests of the consumers. 

In saying this, one depicts no Utopia. No 
particular way is laid down in which this 
or that matter must be settled. All that is 
done, is to point out how people will settle 
matters for themselves, when once they set 
about working in forms of community 
which are in accordance with their special 
insight and interests. 

There are two things that operate to 
bring men together into communities of 



xxxivTHE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

this kind: The one, is human nature, — 
for it is nature that gives men wants. Or, 
again, a free spiritual Hfe, for this en- 
genders the insight that finds scope in com- 
munal life. Anyone, who bases his 
thoughts on reality, will admit, that Asso- 
ciative communities of this kind can spring 
up at any time, that there is nothing Uto- 
pian about them. There is nothing to 
hinder their springing up, except that the 
thought of ''organisation" has been so sug- 
gested into the man of the present day, 
that he is obsessed with the notion of or- 
ganising industrial and economic life from 
outside. In direct contrast to such organ- 
ising of men for the combined work of 
production, is this other kind of economic 
organisation, that rests on voluntary, free 
Association. Through this mutual Associa- 
tion, one man establishes ties with another ; 
and the orderly scheme of the whole is the 
resultant of what each individual finds rea- 
sonable for himself. 

It may of course be said: What is the 
use of a man, who has no property, Asso- 



PREFACE XXXV 

dating himself with a man, who has? It 
might seem better for all production and 
consumption to be regulated "fairly" from 
outside. But such organising kind of reg- 
ulation checks the flow of free individual 
creative power, through which economic 
life is fed, and cuts the economic life off 
from what this source alone can give it. 
Putting aside any pre-conclusions, just 
make the experiment of an Association be^ 
tween those, who to-day have no property, 
and those who have ; and, if no forces other 
than economic ones intervene, it will be 
found that the "Haves" are obliged to ren- 
der the "Have-nots" service for service. 
The common talk about such things to- 
day does not proceed from those instincts 
of life, that experience teaches, but from 
certain attitudes of mind, that have arisen 
out of class or other interests, not out of 
economic ones. Such attitudes of mind 
had a chance to grow up, because, in these 
latter times, just when economic life es- 
pecially was becoming more and more com- 
plicated, the purely economic ideas were 



r.xxvi THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

unable to keep pace with it. The cramped 
and fettered spiritual life has acted as a 
drag. The people, who are carrying on 
economic life, are fast caught in life's rou- 
tine ; they are unable to see the forces that 
are at work shaping the world's industrial 
economy. They work on, without any in- 
sight into the totality of human life. But, 
in the Associations, one person will learn 
from another what it is necessary that he 
should know, A collective experience of 
economic possibilities will arise from the 
combined judgment of individuals, who 
each have insight and experience in their 
own particular departments. 

Whilst, then, in the free spiritual life 
the only forces at work are those inherent 
to the spiritual life itself, so in an economic 
system modelled on associative lines, the 
only values that count will be those eco- 
nomic values that grow up under the As- 
sociations. The particular part that any 
individual has to play in economic life will 
become clear to him from actual life and 
work along with his economic associates. 



PREFACE xxxvu 

And the weight that he carries in the gen- 
eral economic system will be exactly pro- 
portionate to the service he renders within 
it. There will be those who are unfitted to 
render service; and how these find their 
place in the general economy of the body 
social is discussed in the course of the book. 
In an economic system, that is shaped by 
economic forces alone, it is possible for the 
weak to find shelter against the strong. 

Thus the body social falls apart into 
two independent branches, which are able 
to afiford each other mutual support owing 
to the very fact, that each has its own spe- 
cial method of working, shaped by the 
forces inherent to itself. But between 
these two must come a third, w^hose life 
lies betwixt both. This is the true "state" 
branch of the body social. Here all those 
things find a place that must depend upon 
the judgment and sentiments of every per- 
son who is of age to have a voice. Within 
the free spiritual life, everyone busies him- 
self according to his special abilities. 
Within the economic life, each fills the 



xxxviii THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

place that falls to him through his connec- 
tion with the rest of the associative net- 
work. Within the political state-life of 
"rights," each comes into his own as a 
human being, and stands on his simple 
human value, in so far as this is apart from 
the abilities which he exercises within the 
free spiritual life, and independent too of 
whatever value that the associative eco- 
nomic system may set upon the goods he 
produces. 

Hours of labour and modes of labour 
are shewn in this book to be matters for 
the political "Rights-life," for the state. 
Here, every man meets his fellow on an 
equal footing, because, here, all transac- 
tions and all control are confined to those 
fields of life in which all men alike are com- 
petent to form an opinion. It is the branch 
of the body social where men's rights and 
duties are adjusted. 

The unity of the whole body social will 
spring from the separate, free expansion 
of its three functions. In the course of 
the book it is shewn, what form the ener- 



PREFACE xxxix 

g^es of capital and o£ the means of pro- 
duction, as well as the use of land, may take 
under the joint action of these three func- 
tions of the social organism. To someone, 
who is bent on "solving" the social ques- 
tion by a device of economics, by some 
economic scheme that has come up or been 
thought out on paper, — to him this book 
v\^ill seem unpractical. But anyone, who 
is trying from life's experience to promote 
forms of combination amongst men, in 
which they may be able to see. what the 
social problems, and duties are, and how 
best to fulfil them, — he may perhaps ad- 
mit, that the writer of this book is en- 
deavouring after a genuine working-prac- 
tice of life. 

The book was first published in April, 
1919. Since then, I have published a series 
of articles, explanatory and supplementary 
to it, which have now appeared as a sepa- 
rate volume. (§) 

It may be thought, that in both books a 

(§) An English translation of this supplementary 
volume is in preparation. (Translator's note.) 



xl THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

great deal is said about the paths that 
should be pursued in social life, and very 
little about the "ultimate ends" of the so- 
cial movement. Anyone, who thinks along 
the lines of life, knows, that, as a matter 
of fact, particular ends may present them- 
selves in various forms. It is only those 
who live in abstract thoughts, who see 
things in single outline, and who often find 
fault with the person in practical life for 
not putting them definitely, "clearly" 
enough. There are many such abstrac- 
tionists to be found amongst people who 
pride themselves on their practicality. 
They do not reflect, that life can assume 
the most manifold forms. It is a flowing 
tide; and if one would travel with it, one 
must adapt oneself even in thought and 
feeling to the flux that is its constant fea- 
ture. Thought of this kind alone can seize 
and keep its hold on social problems. 

It is from the observation of life that 
the ideas in this book have been won; it 
is from the observation of life that they 
ask to be understood. 



I. 



The True Shape of the Social Question, 
As Shewn in the Life of Modern Man 

Does not the modern social movement 
stand revealed by the great catastrophe of 
the war, demonstrating in actual facts how 
inadequate the thoughts were, which for 
years have been supposed sufficient to an 
understanding of the working-class move- 
ment and its purport ? 

It is a question forced upon us by the 
demands of the workers and all that these 
involve, — demands which formerly were 
kept in suppression, but which at the pres- 
ent time are forcing their way to the sur- 
face of life. The powers that were instru- 
mental in suppression are partially de- 
stroyed; and the position they took up to- 



2 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

wards the forces of social growth in a 
large part of mankind is one that nobody 
can wish to maintain, who does not totally 
fail to recognise how indestructible such 
impulses of human nature are. 

The greatest illusions in respect to these 
social forces have been harboured by per- 
sons, whose situation in life gave them the 
power, by word and voice, either to assist 
or to check those influences in European 
life, which, in 1914, were rushing us into 
the catastrophe of war. These persons ac- 
tually believed, that a military victory for 
their country would hush the mutterings 
of the social storm. They have since been 
obliged to recognise, that it was the con- 
sequences of their own attitude that first 
brought these social tendencies fully to 
light. Indeed, the present catastrophe, — 
which is the catastrophe of mankind, — has 
shewn itself to be the very event, through 
which, historically, these tendencies gained 
the opportunity to make themselves felt in 
their full force. During these last fateful 
years, both the leading persons and the 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 3 

leading classes have been constantly 
obliged to tune their own behaviour to the 
note sounded in socialist circles. Could 
they have disregarded the tone of these 
circles, they would often gladly have acted 
differently. And the effects of this live on 
in the form which events are taking to- 
day. 

And now the thing, which for years past 
has been drawing on in mankind's life- 
evolution, preparing its way before it, has 
arrived at a decisive stage, — and now 
comes the tragedy: The facts are with 
us in all their ripeness, but the thoughts 
that came up with the growth of the facts 
are no match for them. There are many 
persons who trained their thoughts on the 
lines of the growing process, hoping there- 
by to serve the social ideal which they rec- 
ognised in it; and these persons find them- 
selves to-day practically powerless before 
the problems which the accomplished facts 
present, and on which the destinies of 
mankind hang. A good many of these per- 
sons, it is true, still believe that the things 



4 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

they have so long thought necessary to 
the remodelling of human life will now be 
realised, and will then prove powerful 
enough to give these facts a possible turn 
and meet their requirements. One may 
dismiss the opinion of those, who, even 
now, are still under the delusion, that it 
must be possible to maintain the old scheme 
of things against the new demands that 
are being urged by a large part of man- 
kind. We may confine ourselves to exam- 
ining what is going on in the wills of those 
people who are convinced that a remodel- 
ling of social life is necessary. Even so, 
we shall be forced to own to ourselves, 
that party shibboleths go wandering up 
and down amongst us like the dessicated 
corpses of once animate creeds, — every- 
where flouted and set at naught by the 
evolution of facts. The facts call for deci- 
sions, for which the creeds of the old par- 
tics are all unprepared. These parties cer- 
tainly evolved along with the facts, — but 
they, and their habits of thought, have not 
kept pace with the facts. One may per- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 5 

haps venture without presumption to hold 
—ni the face of still common opinion — 
that the course of events throughout the 
world at the present time bears out what 
has just been said. One may draw the con- 
clusion, that this is just the favorable mo- 
ment to attempt to point out something- 
which, m its true character, is foreign even 
to those who are expert thinkers among 
the parties and persons belonging to the 
various schools of social thought For it 
may well be, that the tragedy that reveals 
Itself m all these attempts to solve the so- 
cial question, arises precisely from the real 
purport of the working-class struggle hav- 
mg been misunderstood,— misunderstood 
even by those who, themselves with all 
their opinions, are the outcome of this 
struggle. For men by no means always 
read their own purposes aright. 

There may therefore seem some justifi- 
cation for putting these questions: What 
IS, m reality, the purport of the modern 
working-class movement? What is its 
will^ Does this, its will and purport cor- 



6 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

respond to what is usually thought about 
it, either by the workers themselves, or by 
the non-workers? Does what is common- 
ly thought about the "social problem" re- 
peal that question in its true form? Or 
is an altogether different line of thought 
needed? This is a question which one can- 
not approach impartially unless, through 
personal destiny, one has in a position one- 
self to enter into the life of the modern 
worker's soul, — especially amongst that 
section of the workers who have most to 
do with the form the social movement is 
taking in the present day. 

People have talked a great deal about 
the evolution of modern technical science 
and modern capitalism. They have studied 
the rise of the present working-class in the 
process of this evolution, and how the de- 
velopments of economic life in recent times 
have led on to the workers' present de- 
mands. There is much that is to the point 
in what has been said about all this. But 
there is one critical feature which is never 
touched on, a§ one cannot help seeing, if 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 7 

one refuses to be hypnotised by the theory 
that it is external conditions that give the 
stamp to a man's Hfe. It is a feature ob- 
vious to anyone who keeps an unclouded 
insight for impulses of the soul that work 
from within outwards, out of hidden 
depths. It is quite true, that the worker's 
demands have been evolved during the 
growth of modern technical science and 
modern capitalism; but a recognition of 
this fact affords no further clue whatever 
to the impulses that are actuating these 
demands, and which are in fact purely hu- 
man in character. Nor, till one penetrates 
to the heart of these impulses, will one 
get to the true form of the social ques- 
tion. 

There is a word in frequent use among 
the workers, which is of striking signifi- 
cance for anyone able to penetrate to the 
deeper-seated forces active in the human 
will. It is this: the modern worker has 
become ''class-conscious/' He no longer 
follows, more or less instinctively and un- 
consciously, the swing of the classes out- 



8 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

side his own. He knows himself one of 
a class apart, and is determined, that the 
relation, which public life establishes be- 
tween his class and the other classes, shall 
be turned to good account for his own 
interests. And anyone, who has compre- 
hension for the undercurrents of men's 
souls, finds in the word "class-conscious," 
as used by the modern worker, a clue to 
very important facts in the worker's view 
of life, — in particular amongst those 
classes of workers, whose life is cast amidst 
modern technical industry and modern cap- 
italism. What will above all arrest his 
attention is, how strongly the worker's 
soul has been impressed and fired by 
scientific teachings about economic life and 
its bearing on human destinies. Here one 
touches on a circumstance about which 
many people, who only think about the 
workers, not zvith them, have very hazy 
notions, — notions indeed, which are down- 
right mischievous, in view of the serious 
events taking place at the present day. The 
view, that the "uneducated" working man 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 9 

has had his head turned by Marxism, and 
by later labour writers of the Marxist 
school, and other things one hears of the 
same sort, will not conduce towards that 
understanding of the subject and its con- 
nection with the whole historic situation of 
the world, which is so peculiarly necessary 
at the present day. In expressing such a 
view, one only shews that one lacks the will 
to examine an essential feature of the pres- 
ent social movement. For it is an essential 
feature, that the working-class conscious- 
ness has thus become filled with concepts 
that take their stamp from the scientific evo- 
lution of recent times. This class-conscious- 
ness continues to be dominated by the note 
struck in Lassalle's speech on "Science and 
the Workers." Such things may appear 
unessential to many a man who reckons 
himself a "practical person"; but anyone, 
who means to arrive at a really fruitful 
insight into the modern labour movement- 
is bound to turn his attention to these 
things. In the demands put forward by 
the workers to-day, be they moderates or 



10 THE THREEFOI>D COMMONWEALTH 

radicals, we have the expression, not, as 
many people imagine, of economic life that 
has — somehow — become metamorphosed 
into human impulse, we have the expres- 
sion of e c o n o m i c s c i e n c e, by which the 
working-class consciousness is possessed. 
This stands out clearly in the literature of 
the labour movement, with its scientific 
flavour and popular journalistic render- 
ings. To deny this, is to shut one's eyes 
to actual facts. And it is a fundamental 
fact, and one which determines the whole 
social situation at the present day, that 
everything which forms the subject of the 
worker's ''class-consciousness" is couched 
for him in concepts of a scientific kind. 
The individual working at his machine may 
be no matter how completely a stranger to 
science ; yet those, who enlighten him as to 
his own position and to whom he listens, 
borrow their method of enlightenment 
from this same science. 

All the disquisitions about modern eco- 
nomic life, about the machine age and cap- 
italism, may throw ever so instructive a 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 1 1 

light on the facts underlying the modern 
working-class movement; but the decisive 
light on the present social situation does 
not proceed directly from the fact, that the 
worker has been placed at the machine, 
that he has been harnessed to the capital- 
ist scheme of things. It proceeds from the 
other, different, fact, that his class-con- 
sciousness has been filled with a quite defi- 
nite kind of thought, shaped at the ma- 
chine and under the influence of the capi- 
talist order of economy. Possibly the 
habits of thought peculiar to the present 
day may prevent many people from realis- 
ing the full bearing of this circumstance, 
and may cause them to regard the stress 
laid upon it as a mere dialectic play upon 
terms. One can only say in reply: So 
much the worse for any prospect of a suc- 
cessful intervention in social life to-day by 
people who are unable to distinguish es- 
sentials. Anyone, who wants to under- 
stand the working-class movement, must 
first and foremost know, how the worker 
thinks. For the working-class movement, 



12 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

from its moderate efforts at reform to its 
most sweeping extravagances, is not cre- 
ated by "forces outside man," by "econom- 
ic impulses," but by h u m a n - b e i n g s , by 
their mental conceptions and by the im- 
pulses of their will. 

Not in what capitalism and the machine 
have implanted in the worker's conscious- 
ness, not here lie the ideas and will-forces, 
that give its character to the present social 
movement. This movement turned in the 
direction of modern science to find its 
fount of thought, because capitalism and 
the machine could give the worker no sub- 
stance with which to content his soul as a 
human being. Such substance and content 
was afforded to the medieval craftsman 
by his craft. In the kind of connection 
which the medieval handworker felt be- 
tween himself, as a human being, and his 
craft, there was something that shewed 
life within the whole human confraternity 
in a light which made it seem, for his in- 
dividual consciousness, worth living. 
Whatever he might be doing, he was able 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 13 

to regard it in such a way, that he seemed 
through it to be reahsing what he desired, 
as a ''man," to be. Tending a machine un- 
der the capitaHst scheme of things the man 
was thrown back upon himself, upon his 
own inner hfe, whenever he tried to find 
some principle on which to base a general 
outlook on Man and one's consciousness 
of what as a "man" one is. Technical in- 
dustry, capitalism, — these could contribute 
nothing towards such an outlook. And so 
it came to pass, that the working-class con- 
sciousness took the bent towards the scien- 
tific type of thought. The direct human 
link with actual life was lost. 

Now this occurred just a^; a time, when 
the leading classes of mankind were work- 
ing towards a scientific mode of thought, 
which in itself no longer possessed the spir- 
itual energy to content man's conscious- 
ness in every aspect and guide it along all 
the directions of its wants. The old views 
of the universe gave man his place as a 
soul in the spiritual complex of existence. 
Modern science views him as a natural ob- 



14 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ject amidst a purely natural order of 
things. This science is not felt as a stream 
flowing from a spiritual world into the soul 
of man, and on which man as a soul is 
buoyed and upborne. Whatever one's 
opinion may be as to the relation of the 
religious impulses, and kindred things, to 
the scientific mode of thought of recent 
times, yet one must admit, if one considers 
historic evolution impartially, that the 
scientific conception has developed out of 
the religious one. But the old conceptions 
of the universe, that rested deep down on 
religious foundations, lacked power to im- 
part their soul-bearing force to the newer 
form of scientific conception. They with- 
drew beyond its range, and lived on, con- 
tenting their consciousness with things in 
which the souls of the workers could find no 
resource. For the leading classes, this in- 
ner world of consciousness might still have 
a certain value. In some form or other it 
was bound up with their own position in 
life. They sought for no new substance 
for their consciousness, because they were 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 15 

able to keep a hold on the old one, that had 
been handed down to them through actual 
life. But the modern worker was torn 
out of all his old setting in life. He was 
the man whose life had been put on a to- 
tally new basis. For him, when the old 
bases of life were withdrawn, there dis- 
appeared at the same time all possibility of 
drawing from the old spiritual springs. 
These lay far off in regions to which he 
was now become a stranger. Contem- 
poraneous with modern technical science 
and modern capitalism, — in such a sense as 
one can speak of great worldstreams of 
history as contemporaneous, — there grew 
up the modern scientific conception of the 
world. To this the trust, the faith, of the 
modern worker turned. It was here he 
sought the new substance that he needed 
to content his inner consciousness. But 
the working-class and the leading classes 
were differently situated with regard to 
their scientific outlook. The leading 
classes felt no necessity for making the 
scientific mode of conception into a gospel 



16 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

of life, for the support of their souls. No 
matter how thoroughly they might have 
permeated themselves with the scientific 
conception of a natural order of things, 
in which a direct chain of causality leads 
up from the lowest animals to man, this 
mode of conception remained nevertheless 
a merely theoretic persuasion. It never 
stirred their feelings, and impelled them to 
take life through and through in a way 
befitting such a persuasion. Take natural- 
ists such as Vogt and the popular writer, 
Buechner; they were unquestionably per- 
meated with the scientific mode of concep- 
tion; but, alongside this, there was some- 
thing else at work in their souls which kept 
their lives interwoven with a whole com- 
plex of circumstances, such as can those 
whose only intelligible justification can be 
the belief in a spiritual order of the world. 
Putting aside all prejudice, let us just 
imagine, how differently the scientific out- 
look affects a man whose personal exist- 
ence is anchored in such a complex, from 
the modern artisan, who, in the few even- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 17 

ing hours that he has free from work, 
hears the labour leader get up and address 
him in this fashion: "Science in our time 
has cured men of believing that they have 
their origin in a spiritual world. They have 
learnt better, and know now, that in the 
far ages, long ago, they climbed about on 
trees like any vulgar monkey. Science has 
taught them too, that they were all alike 
in their origin, and that it was a purely 
natural one." It was a science that turned 
on such thoughts as these, which met the 
worker when he was looking for a sub- 
stance to fill his soul and give him a sense 
of his own place as man in the life of the 
universe. He took the scientific outlook 
on the world in thorough earnest, and drew 
from it his own practical conclusions for 
life. The technical, capitalistic age laid 
hold of him differently from a member of 
the leading classes. The latter had his 
place in an order of life, which still bore 
the shape once given it by soul-sustaining 
forces; it was all to his interest to fit the 
acquisitions of the new age into this set- 



18 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ting. But the worker, in his soul, was torn 
loose from this order of life. It was not 
capable of giving him one emotion that 
could illumine and fill his own life with 
anything of human worth. There was one 
thing only, which could give the worker 
any sense of what a *'man" is, one thing 
only that seemed to have emerged from 
the old order of life endowed with the 
power that awakens faith, and that was — 
scientific thought. It may arouse a smile 
in some of those who read this, to be told 
of the "scientific" character of the work- 
er's conceptions. Let them smile, who can 
only think of the scientific habit of mind as 
something that is acquired by many years 
of application on the benches of "educa- 
tional institutes," and then contrast this 
sort of "science" with what fills the mind 
of the worker who has "never learnt any- 
thing." What is for him a smiling matter, 
are facts of modern life on which the fate 
of the future turns. And these facts shew, 
that many a very learned man lives un- 
scientifically, whereas the unlearned work- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION I9 

er brings his whole view of Hfe into Hne 
with that scientific learning, of which very 
likely nothing has fallen to his share. The 
educated man has made a place for science, 
— it has a pigeon-hole of its own in the re- 
cesses of his soul. But he himself has his 
place in a network of circumstances in ac- 
tual life, and it is these which give the 
direction to his feelings. His feeling is 
not directed by his science. The worker, 
through the very conditions of his life, is 
led to bring his conception of existence into 
unison with the general tone of this science. 
He may be very far from what the other 
classes call "scientific," yet his life's course 
is charted by the scientific lines of concep- 
tion. For the other classes, some religious 
or aesthetic, some general spiritual princi- 
ple is the determining basis; — for him. 
Science is turned into the creed of life, — 
even though often it may be science filtered 
away to its last little shallows and driblets 
of thought. Many a meml)er of the ''fore- 
most" classes feels himself to be "enlight- 
ened" in religion, a "free-thinker." No 



20 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

doubt his scientific convictions influence 
his conceptions; but in his feelings still 
throb the forgotten remnants of a tradi- 
tional creed of life. What the scientific 
type of thought has not brought down 
from the old order, is the consciousness of 
being, as a spiritual type, rooted in a spir- 
itual world. This was a peculiarity of the 
modern scientific outlook, which presented 
no difficulty to a member of the leading 
classes. Life to him was filled by old tradi- 
tions. For the worker it was otherwise; 
his new situation in life drove the old tradi- 
tions from his soul. He took over from 
the ruling classes as heritage the scientific 
mode of thought, and made this the basis 
of his consciousness of the life and being 
of man. But this "spiritual possession," 
with which he filled his soul, knew nothing 
of its derivation from an actual life of the 
spirit. The only spiritual life, that the 
workers could take over from the ruling 
classes, was of a sort that denied its spirit- 
ual origin. 

I well know, how these thoughts will 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 2 1 

affect people outside as well as inside the 
working-class, who, believing themselves 
to have a thorough practical acquaintance 
with life, regard the view here expressed 
as quite remote from realities. The Ian 
guage of actual facts, as spoken by the 
whole state of the world to-day, will more 
and more prove this belief of theirs to be a 
delusion. For anyone able to look at these 
tacts without prejudice, it will be plain 
that a view of life, which never gets be- 
yond their external aspect, becomes ulti- 
mately inaccessible to any conceptions save 
such as have lost all touch with facts Rul- 
ing thought has clung on so long in this 
practical way to facts,-that the 
thoughts themselves have ended by bearing 
no resemblance whatever to the facts The 
present world-catastrophe might have 
taught many people a lesson in this re- 
spect What did they think it possible 
might happen? And what reallv did hap- 
pen? Is it to be the same with their 
thoughts about social problems? 

I know too, how someone who professes 



22 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

working-class views will feel about what 
has been said, and can hear him saying: 
"Just like the rest of them! trying to 
shunt the real gist of the social question 
oif on to lines that promise to be smooth 
for the bourgeois sort." With his creed, 
he does not see how fate has brought him 
into this working-class life, and how he is 
trying to find his way in it with a type of 
thought inherited from the ruling-classes. 
He lives as a working-man but he thinks 
as a bourgeois. The new age is making it 
necessary to learn not only a new way of 
life, but a new way of thought also. The 
scientific mode of conception can only be- 
come substantial and life-supporting, when 
it evolves, in its own fashion, a power to 
content the whole of human life in all its 
aspects, such as the old conceptions of life 
once evolved in their way. 

This points the path for the discovery 
in its true form of one factor in the mod- 
ern labour movement. And having trav- 
elled it to the end, the worker's soul utters 
this cry of conviction: "I am striving 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 23 

after spiritual life. Yet this spiritual life 
is ideology, is merely man's own reflec- 
tion of what is going on in the world out- 
side, it does not come to us from a spiritual 
world of its own." In the transition to the 
new age, the old spiritual life had turned 
to something which, for the working-class 
sense of life, is ideology. If one wants to 
understand the mood of soul amongst the 
workers, as it finds vent in the social de- 
mands of the present day, one must be able 
to grasp the full possible effects of the 
theory that spiritual life is ideology. It 
may be retorted : "What does the average 
working-man know of any such theory? 
it is only a will-o'-the-wisp in the brains 
of their more or less educated leaders." But 
anyone who says so is talking wide of life, 
and his doings in actual life will be wide 
of it too. He simply does not know, what 
has been going on in the life of the working- 
class during the last half century. He 
does not know the threads that are woven 
from the theory, that spiritual life is ideol- 
ogy, to the demands and actions of the out- 



24 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

and-out socialist, whom he thinks so "ig- 
norant"; — yes, and to the deeds too of 
those who "hatch revolution" out of the 
blind promptings of the life within them. 
Herein lies the tragedy overshadowing 
all our interpretations of the social de- 
mands of the day, that in so many circles 
there is no sense of what is forcing its way 
up to the surface out of the souls of the 
great masses of mankind, — that people 
cannot turn their eyes to what is actually 
taking place in men's inner life. The non- 
worker listens with dismay to the worker 
setting forth his demands ; and this is what 
he hears: — "Nothing short of communal- 
ising the means of production will make it 
possible for me to have a life worthy of a 
human being." But the non-worker is 
unable to form the faintest conception, of 
how his own class, in the transition from 
the old age to the new, not only summoned 
the worker to labour at means of produc- 
tion that were not his, but failed even to 
give him anything to satisfy and sustain 
his soul in his labour. People, who see 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 25 

and act wide of the mark in this way, may 
say: — "But, after all, the working-man 
only wants to better his position in life 
and put himself on a level with the upper 
classes; where do the needs of his soul 
come in?" The working-man himself may 
even declare: — "I am not asking the other 
classes for anything for my soul; all I 
want, is to prevent them exploiting me any 
longer. I mean to put an end to existing 
class destinctions." Talk of this kind does 
not touch the essence of the social ques- 
tion. It reveals nothing of its true form. 
For, had the working population inherited 
from the leading classes a genuine spiritual 
substance, then they would have had a 
different consciousness within their souls, 
one which would have voiced their social 
demands in quite a different fashion from 
the modern workers, who can see in the 
spiritual life, as they have received it, mere- 
ly an ideology. The workers, as a class, 
are convinced of the ideologic character of 
spiritual life; but the conviction renders 
them more and more unhappy. They are 



26 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

not definitely conscious of this unhappiness 
in their souls, but they suffer acutely from 
it, and it far outweighs, in its significance 
for the social question to-day, all demands 
for an improvement in external conditions, 
— justifiable as these demands are too in 
their own way. 

The ruling classes do not recognise, that 
they are themselves the authors of that at- 
titude of mind, which now confronts them 
militant in the labour-world. And yet, 
they are the authors of it, inasmuch as, 
out of their own spiritual world, they 
failed to bequeath to the workers anything 
but what must seem to the workers "ideol- 
ogy." 

What gives to the present social move- 
ment its essential stamp, is not the demand 
for a change of conditions in the life of 
one class of men, — although that is the 
natural sign of it. Rather, it is the manner 
in zvhich this demand is translated by this 
class from a thought-impulse into actual 
reality. Consider the facts impartially 
from this point of view. One will find per- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 27 

sons who aim at keeping in touch with 
labour tendencies in thought, smile at any 
talk of a spiritual movement proposing to 
contribute anything towards the solution 
of the social question. They dismiss it 
with a smile, as ideology, empty theory. 
From thought, from the mere life of the 
spirit, there is nothing, they feel certain, 
to be contributed to the burning social 
problems of the hour. And yet, when one 
looks at the matter more closely, it is forced 
upon one, that the very nerve, the very 
root-impulse of the modern movement, — 
especially as a working-class movement, — 
does not lie in the things about which the 
modern worker talks, but in thoughts. The 
modern working-class movement has 
sprung, as perhaps no other similar move- 
ment in the world before it, oiit of 
thoughts. When studied more closely, it 
shews this in a most marked degree. I 
am not throwing this out as an apercu, the 
result of long pondering over the social 
movement. If I may venture to introduce 
a personal remark I was for years lecturer 



28 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

at a working-man's institute, giving in- 
struction to working men in a wide variety 
of subjects; and I think that it taught me 
what is Hving and stirring in the soul of 
the modern proletarian worker. And from 
this starting point, I had occasion to go on, 
and follow up the tendencies at work in the 
various trades unions and different call- 
ings. I think I may say, that I am not ap- 
proaching the subject merely from theoret- 
ical considerations, but am putting into 
words the results arrived at through actual 
living experience. 

Anyone, — only, unfortunately, so few of 
the leading intellectuals are in this posi- 
tion, — but anyone, who has learnt to know 
the modern labour movement where it was 
carried on by the workers themselves, 
knows how remarkable a feature it is in it, 
and how fraught with significance, that a 
certain trend of thought has laid intense 
hold on the souls of large numbers of men. 
What makes it at the present moment hard 
to adopt any line as regards the social con- 
undrums that present themselves, is that 



TPIE SOCIAL QUESTION- 29 

there is so little possibility of an under- 
standing between the different classes. It 
is so hard for the middle-class to-day to 
put themselves into the soul of the worker, 
— so hard for them to understand how the 
worker's still fresh, unexhausted intelli- 
gence opened to receive a work such as that 
of Karl Marx, — which, in its whole mode 
of conception, no matter how one regards 
its substance, measures the requirements 
of human thought by such a lofty standard. 
One man may agree with Karl Marx's in- 
tellectual system, — another may refute it; 
and the arguments on either side may ap- 
pear equally good. In some points it was 
revised, after the death of IMarx and his 
friend Engels, by those who came later and 
saw social life under a different aspect 
from these leaders. I am not proposing 
to discuss the substance of the Marxian 
system. It is not this that seems to me 
the significant thing in the modern work- 
ing-class movement. The thing that to me 
seems significant above all others is, that 
it should be a fact, that the most powerful 



30 THE THREEFULD COMMONWEALTH 

impulse at work in the labour zvorld is a 
tJiought-systcm. One may go so far as 
to put it thus : — No practical movement, no 
movement that was altogether a movement 
of practical life, making the most matter- 
of-fact demands of every-day humanity, 
has ever before rested so almost entirely on 
a basis of thought alone, as the present 
working-class movement does. Indeed it 
is in a way the first movement of its kind 
to take up its stand entirely on a scientific 
basis. One must however see this fact in 
its proper light. If one considers every- 
thing that the modern worker has con- 
sciously to say about his own views and 
purposes and sentiments, it does not seem 
to one, from a deeper observation of life, 
to be by any means the thing of main im- 
portance. What impresses itself as of real 
importance is, that what in the other classes 
is an appendage of one single branch of the 
soul's life, — the thought-basis, from which 
life takes its tone, — has been made by pro- 
letarian feeling into the thing on which 
the whole man turns. What has thus be- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 3 I 

come an inward reality in the worker is, 
however, a reahty that he cannot acknowl- 
edge. He is deterred from acknowledging 
it, because thought-life has been handed 
down to him as ideology. He builds up 
his life in reality upon thoughts; yet feels 
thoughts to be unreal ideology. This is a 
fact that one must clearly recognise in the 
human evolution of recent years, together 
with all that it involves, — otherwise it is 
impossible to understand the worker's 
views of life and the way those, who hold 
these views, set about realising them in 
practice. 

From the picture drawn of the worker's 
spiritual life in the preceding pages, it will 
be clear that the main features of this 
spiritual life must occupy the first place 
in any description of the working-class so- 
cial movement in its true form. For it is 
essential to the worker's way of feeling 
the causes of his unsatisfactory social con- 
dition and endeavoring to remove them, 
that both the feeling and the endeavour 
take the direction given them by his spirit- 



32 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ual life. And yet, at present, he can only 
reject with contempt or anger the notion, 
that in the spiritual foundations of the 
social movement there is something that 
presents a remarkable driving force. How 
should he recognise in spiritual life a force 
able to bear him along, when he is bound 
to feel it as ideology ? One cannot look to 
a spiritual life, that one feels as ideology, 
to open up the way out of a social situa- 
tion, which one has resolved to endure no 
longer. The scientific cast of his thought 
has turned not only science, but religion, 
art, morality, and right also for the modern 
worker into so many constituent parts of 
human ideology. Behind these branches 
of the spiritual life he sees nothing of 
the workings of an actual reality, which 
finds its way into his own existence, and 
can contribute something to material life. 
To him, these things are only the reflected 
shine, or mirrored image of the material 
life. Whatever reflex influence they may 
have on the shaping of this material life, — 
whether roundabout, through the concep- 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 33 

tions of men's brains, or through being 
taken up into the impulses of the will, yet, 
originally, they arise out of the material 
life itself as ideologic emanations from it. 
These of themselves can certainly yield 
nothing that will conduce to the removal of 
social difticulties. Only out of the sphere 
of material processes themselves can any- 
thing arise that will lead to the desired end. 
Modern spiritual life has been passed on 
from the leading classes of mankind to the 
working population in a form which pre- 
vents the latter from being aware of the 
force that dwells in it. This fact above all 
must be understood, when considering 
what are the forces that can help towards 
the solution of the social question. Should 
it continue to exert its present influence, 
then mankind's spiritual life must see it- 
self doomed to impotence before the social 
demands of our day and the time to come. 
Its impotence is in fact an article of faith 
with a large part of the working-class, and 
openly pressed in Marxism and similar 
creeds. "Modern economic life" — they say 



34 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

— "has evolved out of its earlier forms the 
present capitalistic one. This evolutionary 
process has brought the workers into an 
unendurable situation as regards capital. 
But evolution will not stop here, it will go 
on, and kill capitalism through the forces 
at work in capitalism itself and from the 
death of capitalism will spring the emanci- 
pation of the workers." Later socialist 
thinkers have divested this creed of the 
fatalistic character it had assumed amongst 
a certain school of Marxists. But even so 
its essential feature remains, and shews it- 
self in this way : — that it would not occur 
to anyone, who wishes to be a true socialist 
to-day, to say : *Tf we discover anywhere 
a life of the soul, having its rise in the 
■forces of the age, rooted in a spiritual real- 
ity, and able to sustain the whole man, — 
then such a soul life as this could radiate 
the power needed as a motor-force for the 
social movement." The man of to-day, 
who is obliged to lead the life of a worker, 
can cherish no such expectation from the 
spiritual life of the day ; and this it is which 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 35 

gives the key-note to his soul. He needs 
a spiritual life from which power can come, 
— power to give his soul the sense of his 
human worth. For when the capitalist 
economic order of recent times caught him 
up into its machinery, the man himself, 
with all the deepest needs of his soul, was 
driven for recourse to some such spiritual 
life. But the kind of spiritual life which 
the leading classes handed on to him as 
ideology left his soul void. Running 
through all the demands of the modern 
working-class, is this longing for some 
link with the spiritual life, other than the 
present form of society can give ; and this 
is what gives the directing impetus in the 
social movement to-day. This fact how- 
ever is one that is rightly understood 
neither outside nor inside the working- 
class. Those outside the working-class do 
not suffer from the ideologic cast of mod- 
ern spiritual life, which is of their own 
making. Those who are inside the work- 
ing-class do suffer; but the very ideologic 
character of their inherited spiritual life 



36 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

has robbed them of all belief in the power 
of spiritual possessions, as such, to sustain 
and support them. On a right insight into 
this fact depends the discovery of a path 
out of the maze of confusion into which 
social affairs have fallen. The path has 
been blocked by the social system that has 
arisen with the new form of industrial 
economy under the influence of the leading 
classes. The strength to open it must be 
achieved. 

People's thoughts in this respect will un- 
dergo a complete change, when once they 
come really to feel the full weight of this 
fact : That, in a human community where 
spiritual life plays a merely ideologic role, 
common social life lacks one of the forces 
that can make and keep it a living organ- 
ism. What ails the body social to-day, is 
impotence of the spiritual life. And the 
disease is aggravated by the reluctance to 
acknowledge its existence. Once the fact 
is acknowledged, there will then be a basis 
on which to develope the kind of thinking 
needed for the social movement. 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 37 

At present, the worker thinks that he 
has struck a main force in his soul, when 
he talks about his "class-consciousness." 
But the truth is, that ever since he was 
caught up into the capitalist economic ma- 
chine he has been searching for a spiritual 
life that could sustain his soul and give 
him a "human-consciousness," — a con- 
sciousness of his worth as man, — which 
there is no possibility of developing with a 
spiritual life that is felt as ideology. This 
"human-consciousness — was what he was 
seeking. He could not find it; and so he 
replaced it with "class-consciousness born 
of the economic life. His eyes are ri vetted 
upon the economic life alone, as though 
some overpowering suggestive influence 
held them there. And he no longer be- 
lieves that elsewhere, in the spirit or in the 
soul, there can be anywhere a latent force 
capable of supplying the impulse for what 
is needed in the social movement. All he 
believes is, that the evolution of an eco- 
nomic life, devoid of spirit and of soul, can 
bring about the particular state of things, 



212435 



38 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

which he himself feels to be the one worthy 
of man. Thus he is driven to seek his 
welfare in a transformation of economic 
life alone. He has been forced to the con- 
viction, that with the mere transformation 
of economic life all those ills would dis- 
appear, that have been brought on through 
private enterprise, through the egoism of 
the individual employer, and through the 
individual employer's powerlessness to do 
justice to the claims of human self-respect 
in the employee. And so the modern work- 
er was led on to believe, that the only wel- 
fare for the body social lay in converting 
all private ownership of means of produc- 
tion into a communal concern, or into ac- 
tual communal property. This conviction 
is due to people's eyes having been removed, 
as it were, from everything belonging to 
soul and spirit, and fixed exclusively on 
the purely economic process. 

Hence all the paradox in the working- 
class movement. The modern worker be- 
lieves, that industrial economy, the eco- 
nomic life itself, will of necessitv evolve all 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 39 

that will ultimately give him his rights as 
man. These rights of man in full are what 
he is fighting for. And yet, in the heart 
of the fight something different makes its 
appearance, — something which never could 
be an outcome of the economic life alone. 
It is a significant thing, which speaks most 
forcibly, that here, right at the centre of 
the many forms which the social question 
assumes under the needs of human life to- 
day, there is something that seems, in men's 
belief, to proceed out of economic life, 
which, however, never could proceed from 
economic life alone, — something, that lies 
rather in the direct line of evolution ; lead- 
ing up through the old slave system, 
through the serfdom of the feudal age, to 
the modern proletariat of labour. The cir- 
culation of commodities, of money, the sys- 
tem of capital, property-ownership, the 
land system, these may have taken no mat- 
ter what form under modern life; but at 
the heart of modern life something else has 
taken place, never distinctly expressed, not 
consciously felt even by the modern work- 



40 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

er, but which is the fundamental force ac- 
tuating all his social purpose. It is this : — 
The modern capitalist system of economy 
recognises, at bottom, nothing but com- 
modities within its own province. It un- 
derstands the creation of commodity-values 
as a process in the body economic. And in 
the capitalistic processes of the modern age 
something has been turned into a com- 
modity, which the worker feels must not 
and cannot be a commodity. 

If it were only recognised what a funda- 
mental force this is in the social movement 
amongst the modern workers : this loathing 
that the modern worker feels at being 
forced to barter his labour-power to the 
employer, as goods are bartered in the mar- 
ket., — loathing at seeing his personal la- 
bour-power play part as a factor in the 
supply and demand of the labour-market, 
just as the goods in the market are subject 
to supply and demand. When once peo- 
ple become aware what this loathing of 
the "labour-commodity" means for the 
modern social movement, when once they 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 4 | 

straightly and honestly recognise, that the 
thing at work there is not even emphati- 
cally and drastically enough expressed in 
socialist doctrines, — then they will have 
discovered the second of the two impulses 
which are making the social question to- 
day so urgent, one may indeed say so burn- 
ing, — the first being that spiritual life that 
is felt as an ideology. 

In old days there were slaves. The en- 
tire man was sold as a commodity. Rather 
less of the man, but still a portion of the 
human-being himself was incorporated in 
the economic process by serfdom. To-day, 
capitalism is the power, through which 
still a remnant of the human-being, — his 
labour-power, — is stamped with the char- 
acter of a commodity. I am not saying, 
that this fact has remained unnoticed. On 
the contrary, it is a fact which in social 
life to-day is recognised as a fundamental 
one, and which is felt to be something that 
plays a very important part in the modern 
social movement. But people in studying 
it keep their attention solely fixed on eco- 



42 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

nomic life. They make the question of 
the nature of a commodity solely an eco- 
nomic one. They look to economic life 
itself for the forces that shall bring about 
conditions, under which the worker shall 
no longer feel that his labour-power is play- 
ing a part unworthy of him in the body 
social. They see, how the modern form 
of industrial economy came about histori- 
cally in the recent evolution of mankind. 
They see too, how it gave the commodity 
character to human labour-power. What 
they_ do not see, is, that it is a necessity in- 
herent in economic life, that everything 
incorporated in it becomes a commodity. 
Economic life consists in the production 
and useful consumption of commodities. 
One cannot divest human labour-power of 
its commodity character, unless one can 
find a way of separating it out from the 
economic process. It is of no use trying to 
remodel the economic process so as to give 
it a shape in which human labour may 
come by its rights inside that process it- 
self. What one must endeavor, is to find 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 43 

a way of separating labour-power out from 
the economic process, and bringing it un- 
der social forces that will do away with its 
commodity character. The worker sets 
his desire upon some arrangement of eco- 
nomic life, where his labour-power shall 
find a fitting place; not seeing, that the 
commodity character of his labour is in- 
herently and essentially due to his being 
bound up in the economic processes as part 
and parcel of them. Being obliged to sur- 
render his labour-power to the economic 
processes, the whole man himself is caught 
up into them. So long as the economic 
system has the regulating of labour-power, 
it will go on consuming labour-power just 
as it consumes commodities, — in the man- 
ner that is most useful to its purposes. It 
is as though the power of economic life 
hypnotised people, so that they can look 
at nothing except what is going on inside 
it. They may look for ever in this direc- 
tion without discovering how labour-power 
can escape being a commodity. Some 
other form of industrial economy will only 



44 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

make labour-power a commodity in some 
other manner. The labour question cannot 
find place in its true shape as part of the 
social question, until it is recognised that 
the considerations of economic life which 
determine the laws governing the circula- 
tion, exchange and consumption of com- 
modities, are not such whose competence 
should be extended to human labour-power. 
New age thought has not learned to 
distinguish the totally different fashions 
in which the two things enter into eco- 
nomic life: i. e., on the one hand, labour- 
power, which is intimately bound up with 
the human-being himself ; and, on the other 
hand, those things that proceed from an- 
other source and are dissociated from the 
human-being, and which circulate along 
those paths that all commodities must take 
from their production to their consump- 
tion. Sound thinking on these lines will 
shew both the true form of the labour- 
power question, and the place that economic 
life must occupy in a healthily constituted 
society. 



THE SOCIAL QUESTION 45 

From this, it is obvious that the "social 
question" will divide itself into three dis- 
tinct questions. The first is the question 
of a healthy form of spiritual life within 
the body social ; the second, the considera- 
tion of the position of labour-power, and 
the right way to incorporate it in the life 
of the community. Thirdly, it will be pos- 
sible to deduce the proper place and func- 
tion of economic life. 



II. 



How Actual Life Requires that We Should 

Set about Solving Social Needs and 

Problems 

The characteristic feature, then, to 
which the special form of the social ques- 
tion in recent times is directly traceable, 
may be expressed as follows : The modern 
life of industrial economy, grounded in 
technical science, — modern capitalism, — 
all this has acted in a sort of instinctive 
way, like a force of nature, and given mod- 
ern social life its peculiar internal struc- 
ture and method. But whilst men's atten- 
tion grew thus absorbed in all that techni- 
cal industry and capitalism brought with 
them, it became at the same time diverted 
from other branches, other departments of 
social life, — departments whose workings 

46 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 47 

no less require direction by conscious hu- 
man intelligence, if the body social is to 
be a healthy one. 

I may perhaps be allowed to start by 
drawing a comparison, in order the better 
to describe what here, in any really com- 
prehensive study of the social question, re- 
veals itself as a powerful, indeed a main, 
actuating impulse. It must however be 
borne in mind, that this comparison is in- 
tended as a comparison only, used to help 
out the human understanding and give it 
the turn of thought needed for picturing 
what health in the body social implies. Ac- 
cepting this point of view, then, if one turns 
to the study of that most complex of all 
natural organisms, the human organism, 
it is noticeable, that, running through the 
whole structure and life of it, there are 
three systems, working side by side, and 
each functioning to a certain extent sepa- 
rately and independently of the others. 
These three neighbor systems may be dis- 
tinguished as follows : One system, form- 
ing a province all to itself in the natural 



48 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

human organism, Is that which comprises 
the Hfe of the nerves and senses. It may 
be named, after the principal part of the 
organism where the nerve and sense-Hfe 
is more or less centred, — the head- 
system. Second comes what I should 
like to call the rhythmic system, 
which, to arrive at any real understand- 
ing of man's organisation, must be rec- 
ognised as forming another branch to 
itself. This rhythmic system comprises 
the breathing, the circulation of the 
blood, — all that finds expression in rhyth- 
mic processes within the human organ- 
ism. The third system, then, must be 
recognised as comprising all those organs 
and functions that have to do with actual 
matter-changes — the metabolic process. 
These three systems together comprise 
everything which, duly co-ordinated, keeps 
the whole human complex in healthy work- 
ing order. 

In my book, "Riddles of the Soul," I 
have already attempted to give a brief 
description of this threefold character of 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 49 

the natural human organism in a way that 
tallies completely with what scientific re- 
search has as yet to tell us on the subject. 
It seems to me clear, that biology, physiol- 
ogy, and natural science in general as it 
deals with man, are all rapidly tending to 
a point of view which will shew, that what 
keeps the whole complex process of the 
human organism in working order is just 
this comparatively separate functioning of 
its three separate systems, the head system, 
the circulation, or chest system and the 
metabolic system, — that there is no such 
thing as absolute centralisation in the hu- 
man organism, and, moreover, that each 
of these systems has its own special and 
distinct relation to the outer world, the 
head system through the senses, the rhyth- 
mic or circulatory system through the 
breathing, the metabolic system through 
the organs of nourishment and organs of 
movement. What I have here indicated 
goes much deeper down to spiritual sources 
that I have tried to utilise for natural 
science. In natural-science circles them- 



50 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

selves, it is a fact not yet so generally rec- 
ognised as might perhaps be desirable for 
the advancement of knowledge; but that 
merely means that our habits of thought, 
our whole way of picturing the world to 
ourselves, is not yet completely adapted to 
the inner life and being of nature's work- 
ings, as manifested, for instance, in the 
human organism. People of course may 
say, "No matter. Natural science can af- 
ford to wait. She will come to her ideals 
bit by bit, and views such as yours will gain 
jecognition all in good time." But the 
body social cannot afford to wait, neither 
for the right views nor for the right prac- 
tice. Here an understanding is necessary, 
— if only an instinctive one, — of what the 
body social needs, — and not merely an un- 
derstanding amongst a handful of experts, 
but in every single human soul ; — for every 
human soul takes its own share in the gen- 
eral working of the body social. Sane 
thinking and feeling, sane will and desires 
as to the form to be given the body social, — 
these are only to be developed, when one 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 5 I 

comes to recognise, — even though only in- 
stinctively, — that, in order to thrive, the 
social organism, like the natural one, re- 
quires to be threefold. 

Now, since Schäffle wrote his book on 
the structure of the social organism, all 
sorts of attempts have been made to trace 
out analogies between the organic struc- 
ture of a natural creature, — a human be- 
ing, say, — and of a community of human 
beings. People have tried to map out the 
body social into cells, network of cells, tis- 
sues and so forth. Only a little while ago, 
there was a book published by Merey, 
"World Mutations," in which various nat- 
ural science facts and laws were simply 
transferred to what is supposed to be man's 
social organism. That sort of analogy- 
game has nothing whatever to do with 
what is meant here ; and anyone who mis- 
takes what is said above for just such an- 
other play upon analogies between the nat- 
ural and the social organism, has plainly 
not entered into the spirit of these observa- 
tions. The present comparison is not an 



52 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

attempt to take some natural science truth 
and transplant it into the social system. 
Its object is quite different: — namely, to 
use the human body as an object lesson for 
training human thought and feeling to a 
sense of what organic life requires, and 
then to apply this perceptive sense to the 
body social. If one simply transfers to 
the body social something one thinks one 
has found out about the human body, — 
as is commonly done, — it merely shews that 
one is not willing to acquire the faculties 
needed for studying the social organism in 
the way one has to study the natural or- 
ganism, — that is, as a thing by itself, with 
special laws of its own. 

It might again be thought, that this man- 
ner of depicting the social organism arises 
from the belief that it should be "built up" 
after some cut-and-dried theory borrowed 
from natural science. Nothing could be 
further from all that is here in question. 
What I am trying to shew is something 
very different. The present crisis in the 
history of mankind demands the develop- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 53 

ment In every single human being of cer- 
tain faculties of apprehension, of which the 
first rudiments must be started by the 
schools and system of education, — like the 
first four rules of arithmetic. Hitherto, 
the body social received its older forms 
from something that never entered con- 
sciously into the life of the human soul; 
but in the future this force will cease to 
be active. Fresh evolutionary impulses are 
coming in, and from now on will be active 
in human life; and it is part of them, that 
every individual should be required to have 
these faculties of apprehension, just as 
each individual has long been required to 
have a certain measure of education. 
From now on, it is necessary that the in- 
dividual should be trained to have a healthy 
sense of how the forces of the body social 
must work in order for it to live. People 
must learn to feel, that it would be un- 
healthy, anti-social, not to possess such 
sense of what the body social needs and 
to want to take one's place in it. 

One hears much talk to-day about "so- 



54 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

cialisation" as the thing that the age needs. 
But this sociaHsation will prove no true 
cure but a quack remedy, possibly even a 
fatal one for social life, unless in men's 
hearts, in men's souls, there dawns at least 
an instinctive perception of the necessity 
for a threefold division of the body social. 
If the body social is to function healthily, 
it must regularly develope three organic 
divisions such as here described. 

One of these three divisions is the eco- 
nomic 1 i f e . It is the best one to begin 
with here, because it has obviously, through 
modern technical industry and modern cap- 
italism, worked its way into the whole 
structure of human society, to the subor- 
dination of everything else. This econom- 
ic life requires to form an independent 
organic branch by itself within the body 
social, — relatively as independent as the 
nervous and sensory system within the 
human body. Its concern is with every- 
thing in the nature of production of com- 
modities, circulation of commodities, con- 
sumption of commodities. 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 55 

Next comes the life of public right, 
— political life in the proper sense. This 
must be recognised as forming a second 
branch of the body social. To this branch 
belongs what one might term the true life 
of the State, — taking "State" in the sense 
in which it was formerly applied to a com- 
munity possessing common rights. 

Whilst economic life is concerned with 
all that a man needs from Nature and what 
he himself produces from nature, — with 
commodities and the circulation and con- 
sumption of commodities, — the second 
branch of the body social can have no other 
concern than what is involved in purely 
human relations, in that which comes up 
from the deep-recesses of the inner life 
and affects man's relation towards man. 
It is essential to a right understanding of 
the composition of the social organism, that 
one should clearly recognise the difference 
between the system of ''public right/' 
which can only deal from inner and purely 
human grounds with man-to-man relations, 
and the economic systoii, which is concerned 



56 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

solely with the production, circulation and 
consumption of commodities. People must 
become possessed of an instinctive sense for 
distinguishing between these two in life, so 
that in practice the economic life and the 
life of "right" will be kept distinct; — just 
as, in man's natural organism, the lungs' 
fuction in working up the outer air keeps 
distinct from the processes going on in the 
nervous and sensory life. 

As the third division, alongside the other 
two and equally independent, are to be 
understood all those things in the social 
organism which are connected with mental 
and spiritual life. The term "spiritual 
culture," or "everything that is connected 
with mental and spiritual life," is scarcely 
a term that accurately describes it in any 
way. Perhaps one might more accurately 
express it as "Everything that rests on 
the natural endowments of each single hu- 
man being — everything that plays a part 
in the body social on the ground of the 
natural endowments, both spiritual and 
physical, of the individual." 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 57 

The first function, — the economic one, — 
has to do with everything that must exist 
in order that man may keep straight in 
his material adjustments to the world 
around him. The second function has to 
do with whatever must exist in the body 
social because of men's personal relations 
to one another. The third function has to 
do with all that must spring from the per- 
sonal individuality of each human being, 
and must be incorporated as personal in- 
dividuality in the body social. 

The more true it is that our social Hfe 
has of recent years taken its stamp from 
modern technical industry and modern 
capitalism, the more necessary it is, that 
the injury thus imavoidably done to the 
body social should be healed by bringing 
man, and man's communal life, into right 
relation to these three systems of the body 
social. Economic life has, in recent times, 
singly and of itself, taken on quite new 
forms. And because it has worked all 
alone, unbalanced, it has asserted undue 
power and preponderance in human life. 



58 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

The two other branches of social life have 
not until now been in a position to work 
themselves in this matter-of-course way 
into the social organism and become in- 
corporated with it according to their own 
proper laws. Here man must step in, with 
the instinctive sense I spoke of, and set 
to work to evolve the threefold order, each 
individual working on the spot and at the 
spot where he happens to be. To attempt 
to solve the social problem in the way 
meant here, will leave not one individual 
without his task, now and in the days that 
are coming. 

To begin with the first division of the 
body social, the economic life: — This 
is grounded primarily in conditions of Na- 
ture, — just as the individual man starts 
with special qualities of mind and body as 
the basis for what he may be able to make 
of himself by study, education and the 
teaching of life. This nature-basis sets a 
unique stamp on economic life, and through 
economic life on the whole organism of 
society. It is there, this nature-basis, and 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 59 

no methods of social organisation, no man- 
ner of socialising measures, can affect it, — 
at least, not radically. One must accept 
this nature-basis as the groundwork of life 
for the body social, — just as, in educating 
an individual, one must take his natural 
qualities as groundwork, — how nature has 
endowed him in this or that respect, his 
mental and physical power. Every ex- 
periment in socialisation, every attempt at 
giving man's communal life an economic 
form, must take this nature-basis into ac- 
count. At the bottom of all circulation 
of commodities, of all human labour, and 
of every form of spiritual life too, there 
lies something primal, elementary, basic, 
which links man to a bit of nature. The 
connection between a social organism and 
its nature-basis is a thing that has to be 
taken into consideration, — just as one has 
to consider an individual in regard to his 
personal endowment, when it is a question 
of his learning something. — This is most 
obvious in extreme cases. Take, for in- 
stance, those parts of the earth, where the 



60 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

banana afifords man an easily accessible 
form of food. Here, it will be a question 
of the amount and kind of labour that must 
be expended to bring the banana from its 
place of origin to a convenient spot and 
deliver it ready for consumption; and this 
will enter into all considerations of men's 
communal life together. If one compares 
the human labour, that must be exerted to 
make the banana ready for human con- 
sumption, with the labour that must be 
exerted in Central Europe, say, to make 
wheat ready for consumption, it is at least 
three hundred times less for the banana 
than for the wheat. 

Of course that is an extreme case. But 
similar differences in proportion to the 
nature-basis exist between the amounts of 
labour that are requisite in the other 
branches of production represented in the 
various social communities of Europe. 
The differences are not so marked as in the 
case of bananas and wheat, — still, they 
exist. Accordingly, it is inherent to the 
body economic, that the amount of labour- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 61 

power which man has to put into the eco- 
nomic process is proportionate to the na- 
ture-basis of his economic activities. Com- 
pare the wheat-yields alone : — In Germany, 
in districts of average fertility, the returns 
on wheat cultivation represent about a 
sevenfold to eightfold crop on the seed 
sewn; in Chile, the crop is twelvefold; in 
Northern Mexico, seventeenf old ; in Peru, 
twenty fold. (See Jensen.) 

The whole of this living complex of 
processes, that begin with man's relation 
to nature, and continue through all that 
man has to do to transform nature's prod- 
ucts, down to the point where they are 
ready for consumption, — these processes, 
and these alone for a healthy social organ- 
ism, comprise its economic system. In the 
social organism, the economic system oc- 
cupies somewhat the same place as is oc- 
cupied in the whole human organism by 
the head-system, which conditions the in- 
dividual's abilities. But this head-system 
is dependent on the lung-and-heart system; 
and in the same way the economic system 



62 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

is dependent on the services of human 
labour. The head, however, cannot of it- 
self alone regulate the breathing; and 
neither should the system of human labour- 
power be regulated by the forces that are 
operative within the economic life itself. 
It is through his interests that man is en- 
gaged in economic life, and these have their 
foundation in the needs of his soul and 
spirit. — In what way can a social organism 
most expediently incorporate men's inter- 
ests, so that on the one hand the individual 
may find in this social organism the best 
possible means of satisfying his personal 
interest, whilst being economically em- 
ployed to the best advantage? — This is the 
question that has to be practically solved 
in the institutions of the body economic. 
It can only be solved, if these individual 
interests are given really free scope, and 
if at the same time there exists the will and 
possibility to do what is necessary to their 
satisfaction. These interests arise in a 
region outside the confines of the economic 
life. They grow up as man's own being 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 63 

unfolds its soul and physical nature. It 
is the business of economic life to make 
arrangements for their satisfaction. The 
only arrangement however that the eco- 
nomic life can make, are such as are limited 
to the delivery and exchange of commodi- 
ties, — that is of goods which acquire their 
value from men's wants. The value of a 
commodity comes from the person con- 
suming it. And owing to the fact, that its 
value comes from the consumer, a com- 
modity occupies quite a different position 
within the social organism from other 
things that have a value for man as part 
of that organism. Study the whole circle 
of economic life, putting aside all precon- 
ceptions, — the production, circulation and 
consumption of commodities going on 
within it. One observes at once the differ- 
ence in character between the relation that 
arises when one man makes commodities 
for another, and that human relation that 
has its foundation in mutual right. One 
will not however stop short at merely ob- 
serving the difference ; one will follow it up 



64 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

practically, and insist that economic life 
and the life of "right" should be kept com- 
pletely separate within the body social. In- 
stitutions devoted to the production and 
exchange of commodities require men to 
develope forms of activity that are not im- 
mediately productive of the very best im- 
pulses for their mutual relations in "right." 
Within the economic sphere man turns to 
his fellow because it suits their reciprocal 
interests. Radically different is the link 
between man and man in the sphere of 
"right." 

It may be thought perhaps, that the dis- 
tinction which life requires between the 
two things is adequately recognised, if the 
institutions established for the purposes 
of economic life also make provision for 
the "rights" that are involved in the mu- 
tual relations of the people engaged in it. 
But such a notion has no root in reality. 
The relation "in right," that necessarily 
exists between a man and his fellows, is 
one that can only be rightly felt and lived 
outside the economic sphere, on totally dif- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 65 

ferent soil, not inside it. In the healthy 
social organism, therefore, there must be 
another system of life, alongside the eco- 
nomic life and independent of it, where 
human rights can grow up and find suit- 
able administration. But the "rights" life 
is, strictly, the political sphere, — the true 
sphere of the State. If the interests that 
men have to serve in their economic life 
are carried over into the legislation and 
administration of the "rights" State, then 
these rights as they grow up will merely 
be an expression of economic interests; 
whilst, if the "rights" State takes on the 
management of economic affairs, it is no 
longer fitted to rule men's "life of rights" ; 
since all its measures and institutions will 
be forced to serve man's need for com- 
modities, and thereby diverted from those 
impulses which make for the life of rights. 
A healthy social organism, therefore, re- 
quires, as a second branch alongside the 
body economic, the independent political 
life of the State. In the separate body eco- 
nomic, the forces of economic life itself 



66 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

will guide men to such institutions as best 
serve the production and interchange of 
commodities. In the body politic, the State, 
institutions will arise, where dealings be- 
tween individuals and groups will be set- 
tled on lines that satisfy men's sense of 
right. This demand for complete separa- 
tion of the "rights-State" from the eco- 
nomic sphere proceeds from a standpoint 
of reality. Reality is not the standpoint of 
those who seek to combine the life of rights 
and economics in one. The people engaged 
in economic life of course possess the sense 
of right, but they will only be able to legis- 
late and administrate in the way "right" 
requires, — i. e., from the sense of right 
alone without any admixture of economic 
interests, — when they come to consider 
questions of right independently, in a 
"rights" State that takes, qua State, no part 
in economic life. A "rights" State, such 
as this, has its own legislative and admin- 
istrative bodies, both constructed accord- 
ing to those princi])lcs that ensue from the 
modern sense of right. It will be built up 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 67 

on those impulses in human consciousness, 
which go to-day by the name of "demo- 
cratic." The legislative and administrative 
bodies in the economic domain will arise 
out of the forces of economic life. Such 
transactions as are necessary between the 
executive heads of the legislative and ad- 
ministrative bodies of "rights" and eco- 
nomics respectively, will be carried on 
pretty much as between the governments 
of sovereign states to-day. This co-ordin- 
ation of the two systems will make it pos- 
sible for developments in the one body to 
exert the needful influence on the other. 
This influence of the two spheres on one 
another is prevented, when one of them 
tries to develope within itself the element 
that should come to it from the other. 

The economic life, then, is dependent 
on the one hand on those relations in 
"right," which the State establishes be- 
tween the persons and groups of persons 
engaged in economic work, just as, on the 
other hand, it is subject to the conditions 
of the nature-basis (climate, local fea- 



68 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

tures, presence of mineral wealth, etc.). 
The bounds are thus marked out on either 
side for the proper and possible activities 
of economic life. Just as nature creates 
predetermining conditions, which lie out- 
side the economic sphere, and must be ac- 
cepted by the man at work in it as the 
given premises on which all his economic 
work must be based, — so everything in the 
economic sphere that establishes a "rela- 
tion in right" between man and man, must, 
in a healthy social organism, be regulated 
by the "rights-State," which, like the na- 
ture-basis, goes on alongside and inde- 
pendently of the economic life. In the 
present social organism, — as developed in 
the course of mankind's historic evolution 
up till now, — economic life occupies an un- 
duly large place, and sets the peculiar 
stamp that it has acquired from the ma- 
chine-age and modern capitalism upon the 
whole social movement. It has come to in- 
clude more than it should include in any 
healthy society. In the present day, traf- 
ficking to and fro within the economic cir- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 69 

cuit, where only commodities should traffic, 
we find human I ab our- power, and human 
rights besides. At the present day, within 
the body economic, one can truck not only 
commodities for commodities, but com- 
modities for human labour, — and for hu- 
man rights as well, and all by the very same 
economic process. ( By "commodity" I 
mean everything which through human ac- 
tivity has acquired the form in which it 
is finally brought by man to its place of 
destination for consumption. Economists 
may perhaps find this definition objection- 
able or inadequate; but it may be service- 
able towards an understanding of what 
properly belongs to economic life.§§) 

When anyone acquires a plot of land 
by purchase, one must regard it as an ex- 
change of the land for commodities for 



(§§). Author's Note. For the purposes of life, what 
is wanted in an explanation is not definitions drawn from 
theory, but ideas that give a picture of a real live pro- 
cess. As used in this sense, "commodity" denotes some- 
thing that plays an actual part in man's life and ex- 
perience. Any other concept of it either omits or adds 
to this, and so fails to tally exactly with what really 
and truly goes on in life. 



70 THE THREEFOLD COMjVIONWEALTH 

which the purchase money stands proxy. 
The plot of land however does not act as 
la commodity in economic life. It holds its 
position in the body social through the 
''right" the owner has to use it. There is 
an essential difference between this right 
of use, and the relation of a producer to 
the commodity he produces. From the 
very nature of the producer's relation to 
his product, it cannot possibly enter into 
the totally different kind of man-to-man 
relation created by the fact that someone 
has been granted the sole right to use a 
certain piece of land. Other men are 
obliged to live on this land, or the owner 
sets them to work on it for their living; 
and thus he brings them into a State of 
dependence upon himself. The fact of 
mutually exchanging genuine commodities, 
which one produces or consumes, does not 
establish a dependence that affects the man- 
to-man relation in the same kind of way. 
To an unprejudiced mind it is clear, that 
a fact of actual life, such as this, must, in 
a healthy society, find due expression in 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 71 

its social institutions. So long as there 
is simply an interchange of commodities 
for commodities in economic life, the value 
of these commodities is determined inde- 
pendently of the relations-of -right existing 
between individuals or groups. Directly 
commodities are interchanged for rights, 
the ''rights relation" is itself affected. It 
is not a question of the exchange in itself ; 
such an exchange is the inevitable life- 
element of the modern social organism, 
resting as it does on division of labour. 
The point is, that through this interchange 
of rights and commodities, "right" itself 
is turned into a commodity, when the 
source of "right" lies within the economic 
life. The only way of preventing this, is 
by having two sets of institutions in the 
body social, — one, whose sole and only ob- 
ject it is to conduct commodities in the 
most expedient manner along its circuit, 
the other regulating those human rights 
involved in commodity-exchange which 
arise between the individuals engaged in 
producing, trading and consuming. Such 



72 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

rights are not distinct in their nature from 
any other rights that necessarily exist in 
all relations between persons, quite inde- 
pendent of commodity-exchange. If I in- 
jure or benefit my fellow-man by the sale 
of a commodity, it falls within the same 
social category as an injury or benefit due 
to some action or negligence not directly 
expressed in an exchange of commodities. 
In the organisation of economic life, that 
familiarity with business, which comes 
from practical experience and, specialist 
training, will give the point of view needed 
by the person at the head of affairs. In 
the "rights" organisation, the laws and ad- 
ministration will give efifect to the general 
sense of right in the dealings of persons 
and groups with one another. The eco- 
nomic organisation will assist the forma- 
tion of Associations amongst people who 
from their calling, or as consumers, have 
the same interests or similar requirements. 
And this network of Associations, working 
together, will build up the whole fabric of 
industrial economy, The economic organ- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 73 

isation will grow up on an associative basis, 
and out of the links between the Associa- 
tions. The work of the Associations will 
be purely economic in character, and be 
carried on on a basis of "rights" provided 
by the rights-organisation. These Associa- 
tions, being able to make their economic 
interests recognised in the representative 
and administrative bodies of the economic 
organisation, will not feel any need to force 
themselves into the legislative or execu- 
tive government of the "rights-State" (as, 
for instance, a Landowners' League, or 
Manufacturers' Party, or a Socialist party 
representing an industrial programme), 
in order to effect there what they have no 
power to achieve within the limits of the 
economic life. If the "rights-State" again 
takes no part whatever in any branch of 
industrial economy, then the institutions it 
establishes will be such only as spring from 
the sense of right amongst its members. 
Although the persons who sit on the repre- 
sentative body of the rights-State may, and 
of course will, be the same as are taking an 



74 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

active part in economic life, yet, owing to 
the division of function, economic life will 
not be able to exert such an influence on 
the "rights life," that the health of the 
whole body social is undermined, — as it 
can be, when the state itself organises 
branches of economic life, with representa- 
tives of the economic world as state-legis- 
lators, making laws to suit economic in- 
terests. 

A typical example of the fusion of the 
economic life with the rights-life was af- 
forded by Austria. According to the con- 
stitution adopted by Austria in the eigh- 
teen-sixties, the representatives of the im- 
perial assembly, the "Reichsrat," of that 
compound territory, were elected from 
the communities representing the four 
branches of economic life: — the landed 
proprietors, — the chambers of commerce, 
— the towns, markets and industrial cen- 
tres, — and the rural areas. Obviously, in 
this composition of the representative 
State-assembly, the first and only idea was, 
that of playing off the economic interests 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 75 

against one another, in the belief that a 
system of poHtical rights must be the out- 
come. No doubt the disruptive forces of 
her divers nationahties contributed largely 
to Austria's downfall. But it may be taken 
as no less certain, that if an opportunity 
had been given for developing a system of 
"rights," working alongside and outside of 
the economic one, it would, from the com- 
mon sense of right, have evolved a form 
of society in which the different nation- 
alities could have lived together in unity. 
A person engaged in public life to-day 
usually turns his attention to things in it 
that are only of secondary consideration. 
This is because his habits of thought lead 
him to regard the body social as uniform 
in structure. As a uniform structure, 
there is no form of suffrage he can devise 
that will fit it; for the economic interest 
and the impulses of human rights will come 
into mutual conflict upon the representa- 
tive body, however it may be elected; and 
the conflict between them will affect social 
life in a way that must result in severe 



76 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

shocks to the whole organism of society. 
The first and indispensable object to be 
worked for in public life to-day must be 
the radical separation of economic life from 
the "rights" organisation. And as the 
separation becomes gradually established, 
and people grow into it, the two organisa- 
tions will each in the process discover its 
own most appropriate method of select- 
ing its legislators and administrature. 
Amongst all that at the present moment 
is clamouring for settlement, forms of 
suffrage, although they bear on funda- 
mental issues, are nevertheless of second- 
ary consideration. 

Where the old conditions still exist, these 
can be taken as the basis from which to 
work towards the new^ separation of func- 
tion. Where the old order has already 
melted away, or is in process of dissolu- 
tion, there individuals and little groups of 
people must find the initiative to start re- 
constructing along the new lines of growth. 
To try in 24 hours to effect a transforma- 
tion in public life, is recognised by thought- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 77 

ful socialists themselves as midsummer 
madness. They look to gradual opportune 
changes to bring about what they regard 
as social welfare. The light of facts, how- 
ever, — must make it plain to any impartial 
observer, that a reasoning will and purpose 
are needed to make a new social order, and 
are imperatively demanded by the forces 
at work in mankind's historic evolution. 

These remarks will be regarded as "un- 
practical" by someone who regards noth- 
ing as practicable outside the narrow hori- 
zon of his customary life. Unless he can 
see things differently, any influence he may 
retain in any sphere of life will not tend 
to heal the disease in the body social, but 
only to make it worse. It was people of 
his way of thinking who helped to bring 
about the present state of affairs. There 
must be a reversal of the movement which 
has set in in leading circles, and which has 
already brought various departments of 
economic life (e. g., the postal and railway 
services, etc.), within the workings of the 
State. Its opposite must begin: a move- 



78 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ment towards the elimination of all eco- 
nomic activity from the domain of politics 
and State organisation. Thinkers, whose 
whole will and purpose, as they believe, is 
directed to the welfare of society, take this 
movement towards State control, started by 
the hitherto governing circles, and push it 
to its logical extreme. They propose to 
socialise all the materials of economic life, 
in so far as they are means of production. 
A healthy course of development, however, 
will give economic life its independence, 
and will give the political State a system 
of "right" through which it can bring its 
influence to bear on the body economic, — 
so that the individual shall not feel that his 
function within the body social gives the 
lie to his sense of right. 

When one considers the work that a 
man does for the body social by means of 
his physical labour-power, it is plain that 
the above reflections are grounded in the 
actual life of men. The position which 
labour has come to occupy in the social 
order under the capitalistic form of econ- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 79 

omy, is such, that is purchased by the em- 
ployer from the employed as a commodity. 
An exchange is effected between money (as 
representing commodities) and labour. 
But in reality no such exchange can take 
place ; it only appears to do so. ( § ) What 
really happens is, that the employer re- 
ceives in return from the worker commodi- 
ties that cannot exist, unless the worker 
devotes his labour-power to creating them. 
The worker receives one part, the employer 
the other part of the commodity so cre- 
ated. The production of the commodity is 
the result of a co-operation between em- 
ployer and employed. The product of their 
joint action is that which first passes into 
the circuit of economic life. For the prod- 
uct to come into existence, there must be 
a "relation in right" between worker and 



(§). Author's note. It is quite possible in life for 
a transaction not only to be interpreted unreally, but 
also to take place unreally. Money and labour are not 
interchangeable values, but only money and the pro- 
ducts of labour. Accordingly, if I give money for 
labour, / am doing something that is unreal. I am 
making a sham transaction. For in reality I can only 
give money for the product of labour. 



80 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

"enterpriser"; but the capitalist type of 
economy is able to convert this "rights" 
relation into one determined by the em- 
ployer's superiority in economic power 
over the employed. In a healthy social 
order, it will be obvious that labour cannot 
be paid for, that one cannot set an eco- 
nomic value upon it comparable to the 
value of a commodity. The commodity 
produced by this labour first acquires an 
economic value by comparison with other 
commodities. The kind of work a man 
must do for the maintenance of the body 
social, how he does it, and the amount, 
must be settled according to his abilities 
and the conditions of a decent human exist- 
ence. And this is only possible when such 
questions are settled by the political state, 
quite independently of the provisions and 
regulations made in the economic life. 

This settlement of labour conditions out- 
side economics, pre-establishes a basis of 
value for commodities comparable to the 
basis already established by the conditions 
of nature. The value of one commodity, as 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 8 I 

measured by another, is increased by the 
fact that its raw material is more difficult 
to procure; and, similarly, the value of a 
commodity must be made dependent on the 
kind and amount of labour which the 
"rights" system allows to be expended on 
its production. (§§) 

Thus economic life has its conditions 
fixed on two sides. On one, there is the 
''nature-basis, " which man must take as 
he finds it ; on the other, will be the ''rights- 
basis" which has to be created on the free 
and independent ground of the political 
State, — detached from economic life, and 
out of the common sense of right. 

It is obvious, that in a social organism 
conducted in this way the standard of eco- 
nomic well-being will rise and fall with the 
amount of labour which the common sense 



(§§). Author's Note. The "rights of the matter" be- 
comes the axiomatic basis for all economic activity 
under this relation of labour to the "rights" system; 
and the associations will have to accept these as a given 
premise in economic life. What this does, however, 
is to make economic organisation dependent upon man, 
instead of man being dependent upon the system of 
economics. 



82 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

of right expends upon it. This however 
must be so in a healthy society. Only the 
subordination of the general economic 
prosperity to the common sense of right 
can prevent man from being so used up 
and consumed by economic life that his 
existence no longer seems to him worthy 
of his humanity. And it is this sense of 
an existence unworthy of human beings 
that is, in reality, at the bottom of the con- 
vulsions in the body social. 

Should the general standard of economic 
well-being be too greatly lowered on the 
"rights" side, there is a way of preventing 
this, just as there is a way of improving 
the nature-basis. One can employ techni- 
cal means to make a less productive soil 
more productive; and, if prosperity de- 
clines over much, the mode and amount of 
work can be changed. Only, such changes 
should not be a direct consequence of pro- 
cesses in the economic life; they must be 
the outcome of insight, arrived at on the 
free ground of "rights," independent of 
economic life. 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 83 

There is, however, another element 
again, which enters into everything that is 
contributed towards the organisation of 
social life, whether by the economic life 
or by the 'Vights-consciousness." This 
element comes from a third source: the 
personal abilities of the individual. This 
third domain includes everything from the 
loftiest achievements of the human mind 
to that element in all the works of men 
which comes from their bodily ability to 
render greater or less service to the body 
social. A healthy social organism must 
necessarily receive and assimilate whatever 
comes from this source in quite a different 
manner from what comes to it from the 
life of the State or that finds expression in 
the interchange of commodities. To ab- 
sorb this element healthily into social life 
can only be done in one way, and that is, 
by leaving it entirely to men's free recep- 
tivity and to the impulses which personal 
ability itself brings with it. What is per- 
formed at the promptings of personal abil- 
ity, loses to a great extent the very ground- 



84 THE THREEFOLD COiMMONWEALTH 

work of its existence, when subjected to 
artificial influences from the State organi- 
sation or from the economic system. For 
the only' true groundwork of such per- 
formances lies in that inherent force that 
finds its evolution through human per- 
formance itself. If again the way in which 
such individual performances are taken up 
into the body social directly depends on 
the economic life, — or if the State organises 
it, — there is then a check upon that free 
spontaneous receptivity, which is the only 
sound and wholesome channel for their 
reception. For the spiritual life of the 
body social, there is but one possible line 
of healthy evolution; — and it must not be 
forgotten, by what innumerable fine 
threads this spiritual life is connected with 
the evolution of all other individual poten- 
tialities in human life. What it does, must 
be the outcome of its own impulses; and 
those who receive its services must be 
closely bound up with it in sympathy and 
understanding. Such, as here sketched, 
are the requisite conditions for a sound 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 85 

evolution of the spiritual life of the body 
social. What prevents them from being 
clearly perceived, is that people's eyes are 
blurred through constantly seeing the spir- 
itual life in great part fused and con- 
founded with the political State system. 
The fusion has been taking place through 
several hundreds of years, and they have 
grown accustomed to it. They talk, it is 
true, about "freedom of knowledge" and 
"freedom of education" ; but, all the same, 
they consider it a matter of course that the 
political State should have control of this 
"free" knowledge and "free" education. 
They do not see nor feel, how in this way 
the state is bringing all spiritual life into 
dependence on state requirements. The no- 
tion is, that the State provides the educa- 
tional posts, and that the spiritual life then 
unfolds "freely" under the hands of the 
people who fill these State posts. Through 
long thinking in this way, people come to 
forget what an intimate connection there 
is between the inmost nature of man and 
the substance of the spiritual Hfe growing 



86 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

up within him, and how impossible it is 
for the growth of this spiritual substance 
to be really free, if it owes its place in the 
body social to any other impulses than 
those alone which proceed from the spirit- 
ual life itself. Science, with all that part 
of spiritual life which it affects, has re- 
ceived its whole cast from the fact of its 
management forming part of the State sys- 
tem in recent centuries. And not only so, 
but this fusion with the State has set its 
stamp on the substance of science as well. 
Of course, the results of mathematics or 
physics cannot be directly influenced by 
the State. But consider history and other 
subjects of general culture: — Have not 
they come to reflect the connection of their 
professional representatives with the State 
system ? — to be an obedient mirror of State 
requirements ? 

The peculiar stamp thus acquired by our 
present-day mental conceptions, in which 
the scientific turn of thought predominates 
over every other, is just what makes them 
a mere ideology as they affect the working- 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 87 

class. The workers have observed, how 
men's thoughts acquire a certain character, 
arising out of the requirements of state 
hfe, — a State Hfe that suits the interests 
of the ruHng classes. It was a reflection 
of material interests, and of the war of 
interests, that the worker saw when he 
looked into his thoughts. Thus there arose 
in him a sense that all spiritual life what- 
ever was ideology, a mirrored image of 
the economic order of affairs. Such a 
view of things works havoc with men's 
spiritual life. But its blighting effects will 
cease, once it becomes possible for them 
to feel that in the spiritual domain there 
reigns a reality that transcends material 
outward life and bears its own substance 
within itself. No such sense of a spiritual 
reality can, however, possibly arise, unless 
the spiritual life is free within the body 
social to expand and govern itself accord- 
ing to the impulses inherent in it. Only 
those, who have their part in a spiritual 
life thus freely expanding and freely gov- 
erned, can represent it with that strength 



88 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

and vigour which shall ensure it its due 
place within the body social. Such an in- 
dependent position within human society 
is indispensable for art, science and a 
philosophy of life, with all that goes with 
these. The freedom of one cannot prosper 
without the freedom of all. Although in 
their substance mathematics and physics 
may not be influenced directly by State re- 
quirements, yet how they are applied, the 
estimate people form of their value, the 
effect their pursuit has upon the rest of 
spiritual life, all these and many other 
points are determined by State require- 
ments, whenever some of the branches of 
spiritual life are under State control. It 
is one thing, when the teacher of the low- 
est grade in the school follows the line 
along which the State impells him; it is 
another, when he takes his line from a 
spiritual life that rests on its own inde- 
pendent footing. Here again, social dem- 
ocracy has done no more than take over a 
habit of thought and conventions inherited 
from the ruling classes. Social democracy 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 89 

sets before itself as an Ideal the incorpora- 
tion of spiritual life in a social structure 
based on a system of industrial economy. 
But, were its aim attained, it would be only 
a further step along the same road that has 
led to the present depreciation of spiritual 
life. It was a right feeling, but a one- 
sided one that found expression in the so- 
cialist maxim: "Religion is a man's pri- 
vate affair"; for, in a healthy society, all 
spiritual life must in this sense be a pri- 
vate affair, so far as concerns the State and 
economic life. Only, social democracy does 
not relegate religion to the sphere of pri- 
vate affairs with any idea of thus establish- 
ing its status as spiritual wealth, and giv- 
ing it a position within the social order 
where it may attain to a higher and more 
worthy development than under the State's 
influence. No ; it's idea in so doing is, that 
the resources of the body social should only 
be used to cultivate what it needs for its 
own existence, and that the religious kind 
of spiritual wealth does not come under 
this head. This is not the way in which 



90 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

one branch of spiritual life can prosper, 
singled out as an exemption from public 
life, whilst all the rest remain in bondage. 
The religious life of mankind in this new 
age will go hand in hand with emancipated 
spiritual life in every form, and grow to a 
force able to bear up the souls of the men 
of the new age. 

It is a matter for the soul's own free 
demand, how the spiritual life is received 
into men, no less than how it comes forth 
from them. Teachers, artists and others 
will find, that they have an altogether dif- 
ferent influence, and are able to awaken an 
understanding amongst the public for what 
they are creating, when they themselves 
have a place in the social order which has 
no direct connection with any legislature 
or government, but only with such as arise 
from impulses that lie in the course of the 
spiritual Hfe itself; when too they are ap- 
pealing to people, who are not simply under 
compulsion to labour, but for whom an 
autonomous and independent political State 
also ensures the right to leisure, — leisure 



SOLVIXG SOCIAL NEEDS 91 

which awakens the mind to an appreciation 
of spiritual values. Here one will very 
likely be told by someone, that his own 
"practical experience," — of which he has 
a great opinion, — convinces him, that if 
this notion were carried out, — if the State 
made definite provision for leisure hours, 
and if school attendance were left to peo- 
ple's own sense, it would simply mean that 
people would spend all their leisure in the 
public house and relapse into a state of 
brute ignorance. Well, let such ''pessi- 
mists" wait and see what will happen when 
the world is no longer under their influ- 
ence. Their line of action is all too often 
prescribed by a subtle feeling, a secret 
voice, that whispers in their ear, how they 
themselves like to spend their leisure hours, 
and the steps that were necessary to ensure 
themselves having a decent education. Of 
the free spiritual life, of its power to fire 
and kindle, when left to itself within the 
body social, — of this such persons natur- 
ally take no account. They know the spir- 
itual life in bondage only, and so it has no 



92 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

power to kindle any spark within them- 
selves. 

Both the political State and the economic 
system will obtain from the body spiritual, 
when under its own self-administration, 
that steady inflow from the spiritual life, 
of which they are in need. Practical train- 
ing too for economic life will for the first 
time fully develope its full possibilities, 
when the economic system and the body 
spiritual can co-operate in freedom. Peo- 
ple will come with a suitable training into 
the economic field and will put life into all 
they meet with there, through the strength 
that comes from spiritual endowment set 
free from restraint. And people, who have 
won their experience in the economic field, 
will find their way into the spiritual or- 
ganisation, and help to fertilise what there 
needs fertilising. 

The effect within the political State of 
spiritual abilities being left free, will be 
the growth of sane and sound views, such 
as are needed in this field. The man who 
works with his hands will be able to feel 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 93 

contented with the place his own labour 
fills in the body social. He will come to 
realise that the body social cannot float 
him, unless his hand-work has the guidance 
requisite for its organisation. He will 
acquire a sense of the solidarity of his 
own labour with those organising forces 
which he can trace to the development of 
personal talent. The political State will 
afford him a ground on which he can es- 
tablish the "rights" that secure to him his 
share in the proceeds of the commodities 
he produces ; and he will freely allot to the 
spiritual property, from which he benefits, 
a portion sufficient to keep it productive. 
There will be a possibility for producers 
in the spiritual field, too, to live on the pro- 
ceeds of their work. What anyone chooses 
to do in the matter of spiritual work, will 
be nobody's affair but his own; but for 
any service he may render to the body so- 
cial he will be able to count on willing 
recompense from people to whom spiritual 
goods are a necessity. Anyone, who is not 
satisfied with the recompense he receives 



94 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

under the spiritual organisation, must 
have recourse to one of the other fields, 
either to the political state, or to economic 
life. 

Into the economic life pass those techni- 
cal ideas which originate in the spiritual 
life. Their origin is in the spiritual life, 
even although they proceed directly from 
persons belonging to the State or to the 
economic world. In the spiritual life orig- 
inate all those ideas and organising capaci- 
ties that enrich the life of the State and of 
industrial economy. For everything thus 
supplied to both these fields of social life 
from the spiritual source, the recompense 
will either, as in the other cases, be raised 
through voluntary recognition on the part 
of those who directly draw from this 
source, or else it will be regulated by the 
''rights" that gradually become built up in 
the political sphere. What the political 
State itself needs for its own maintenance, 
will be raised by a system of taxation, 
which will be the outcome of a harmonious 
co-ordination of the claims of economic 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 95 

life, on the one hand, and those of the 
"rights-consciousness" on the other. 

Alongside the political sphere and the 
economic sphere in a healthy society, there 
must be the spiritual sphere, functioning 
independently on its own footing. The 
whole trend of the evolutionary force of 
modern mankind is in the direction 
of this threefolding of the social or- 
ganism. So long as the life of the 
community could be guided in all es- 
sentials by the instinctive forces at work 
in the mass of mankind, so long there 
was no urgent tendency towards this defi- 
nite separation into three functions. At 
bottom, there were always these three dis- 
tinct sources; but in a yet dim and dully 
conscious social life they worked together 
as one. Our modern age demands con- 
scious co-operation on the part of man, and 
that he should take his place open-eyed in 
the workings of the body social. This new 
social consciousness must, however, be di- 
rected from three aspects, if it is to shape 
men's life and conduct healthily. It is this 



96 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

threefold line of evolution towards which 
modern humanity is striving in the soul's 
unconscious depths; and what fmds outlet 
in the social movement is but the stormy 
light cast up from the fires below. 

At the end of the eighteenth century, 
under different circumstances from those 
in which we are living to-day, there went 
up a cry from the hidden depths of human 
nature for a re-formation of human social 
relations. Through all the scheme of the 
new order ran like a motto the three words, 
Fraternity, Equality, Liberty. Of course, 
no one with an unprejudiced mind and 
normal human feeling for the realities of 
human evolution can fail to sympathise 
with all that these three words imply. But 
still, in the course of the nineteenth century 
there were keen thinkers who were at 
pains to point out the impossibility of real- 
ising the three ideas of brotherhood, equal- 
ity and freedom in any homogeneous and 
uniform order of society. It seemed to 
them clear, that these three impulses must 
contradict one another in social life, if 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 97 

carried actually into practice. It was, for 
instance, very cleverly demonstrated, that 
if the impulse towards equality were 
realised there would be no possible room 
for that freedom which is so inherent in 
every human being. And whilst one cannot 
but agree with those who see the contradic- 
tion between them, yet at the same time, 
one's human sympathies must go out to all 
and each of these three ideals in itself ! 

These three ideals appear contradictory, 
until one perceives the necessity for estab- 
lishing a threefold order of society; and 
then their real meaning for social life first 
becomes apparent. The three divisions 
must not be artificially dovetailed together 
and centralised under some theoretical 
scheme of unity, parliamentary or other. 
They must be one living reality. Each of 
the three branches of the body social must 
centre in itself ; and the unity of the whole 
will first come about through the workings 
of the three, side by side and in combina- 
tion. For in actual life it is the apparent 
contradictories that make up a unity. Ac- 



98 TPIE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

cordingly, one will come to comprehend 
what the life of the body social is, when 
one fully perceives the part played by these 
three principles of brotherhood, equality 
and freedom in a real, workable form of 
society. It will then be recognised, that 
men's co-operation in economic life must 
rest on that brotJicrJiood that springs out 
of the Associations. The second system 
is that of "common rights" where one is 
dealing with purely human relations be- 
tween one person and another; and here 
one must strive to realise the idea of 
equality. Whilst in the spiritual field, 
which stands comparatively alone within 
the body social, it is the idea of freedom 
that needs to be realised. Seen in this 
way, these three ideals reveal their value 
for real existence. Thy cannot find their 
realisation in a chaotic stream of social life, 
but only in the threefold working of a 
healthy social organism. No social state, 
constructed on an abstract centralised 
scheme, can carry freedom, equality and 
brotherhood pall mall into practice. But 



SOLVING SOCIAL NEEDS 99 

each of the three branches of the body so- 
cial can derive its strength from one of 
these ideal impulses; and then all three 
branches will work fruitfully in conjunc- 
tion. 

Those people who, at the end of the 
eighteenth century, first demanded the 
recognition of these three ideas. Freedom, 
Equality, Brotherhood, and those who 
took up the cry again later on, — they had 
already a dim sense of whither the forces 
of human evolution were tending in mod- 
ern times. But they had not got beyond be- 
lief in the onefold State. And in the one- 
fold State these ideas involve a contradic- 
tion. They pinned their faith to the con- 
tradiction, because, deep-down in the sub- 
conscious depths of their souls, there was 
this striving towards the threefold order 
of society, in which their trinity of ideas 
can actually achieve a higher unity. To 
lay hold on those evolutionary forces, 
which through the growth of mankind all 
through these latter times, are working 
towards the threefold order, — to make of 



100 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

them a conscious social will and purpose, — 
this is what is demanded of us at the pres- 
ent day in unmistakeable language by the 
hard facts of the social situation. 



III. 

Capitalism and Social Ideas 
(Capital and Human Labour) 

To form an opinion as to what the 
course of action is in the social field, which 
the facts of the day are so loudly demand- 
ing, is only possible, if one is willing to be 
guided in one's opinion by an insight which 
goes below the surface, to the fundamental 
forces of the social organism. The fol- 
lowing introductory remarks are the out- 
come of an effort to arrive at such an in- 
sight. Nothing profitable can be done in 
the present day with social measures based 
on opinions that are drawn from a re- 
stricted sphere of observation. The facts 
that have grown out of the social move- 
ment reveal disturbances at the founda- 



101 



102 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

tions of the social order, not merely surface 
ones. And to cope with these facts one 
needs an insight that also goes to the root 
of things. 

Capital and Capitalism, as talked of to- 
day, indicates something in which the 
working-class portion of mankind look for 
the cause of their grievances. But to come 
to any profitable conclusion as to the part 
played by capital within the social proc- 
esses, whether for good or ill, one must 
first be perfectly clear as to the way in 
which capital is produced and consumed, 
through the agency of men's individual 
abilities, of the ''rights" system, and of 
.the forces of economic life. Human la- 
bour one talks of, as the thing that, to- 
gether with capital and the nature-basis 
of industry, goes to the creation of eco- 
nomic values, and through which the 
worker becomes conscious of his social 
position. To arrive however at any con- 
clusion, as to the proper way of work- 
ing human labour into the whole social 
organism without injuring the worker's 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 103 

sense o£ self-respect as a human being, one 
needs to keep clearly in sight the relation 
that human labour bears, on the one hand 
to individual ability and its development, 
and on the other to the common sense of 
right, the "rights-consciousness." 

At the present moment people are very 
justly asking: What is the most imme- 
diate step to be taken in order to satisfy 
the claims that the social movement has 
brought to the front? But there is no 
taking even the most immediate step to 
good purpose, without first knowing how 
what one is trying to do is related to the 
fundamental principles of a healthy social 
order. And once one knows this, then, in 
whatever place one may find oneself, or 
whatever place one may select to work in, 
one will discover the particular task that 
requires doing under the circumstances. 
The obstacle to acquiring the kind of in- 
sight implied here, lies in that element of 
human will-power, which during the slow 
course of years has crystallised into social 
institutions. Men have so grown into these 



104 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

institutions, that the institutions them- 
selves form the standpoint from which 
they view them and consider, what to 
change and what to leave. Their thoughts 
follow the lead of the facts, instead of 
mastering them. 

To-day, it is necessary to see, that one 
cannot form any judgment adequate to the 
facts, without going back to those primal 
creative thoughts which underlie all 
social institutions. The body social re- 
quires a constant fresh supply of the forces 
that reside in these primal thoughts; and 
if the suitable channels are not there, 
through which these forces can flow, then 
social institutions assume forms which im- 
pede life, instead of furthering it. But 
although the conscious thoughts of men 
may go astray, although they may, — and 
have, — created facts that impede life, yet 
these primal thoughts live on in men's 
instinctive impulses. Tumultuously and 
destructively they break against the world 
of established facts that hem them in; and 
these primal thoughts it is, which open or 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 105 

disguised, find their way out in convulsions 
that threaten to overthrow the social order. 
Such revolutionary convulsions will not 
cease to occur, until the body social takes 
a form, in which there may be always both 
an inclination to notice when any institu- 
tion is beginning to deviate from its first 
intention in those primal thoughts, and at 
the same time the possibility of counter- 
acting every such deviation before it be- 
comes strong enough to be a danger. In 
our times, the actual conditions, through- 
out a wide range of human life, have come 
to deviate very widely from what the 
primal thoughts require. And these primal 
thoughts, as they live on in the impulses 
of the human soul, are a commentary, — 
a commentary that voices itself loudly 
enough in facts, — of what has been taking 
shape in the body social during the last 
few centuries. What is wanted, is good 
will and vigorous resolution to turn again 
to these primal thoughts. We must not be 
blind to the mischief that is done, especially 
at this moment, by dismissing these primal 



106 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

thoughts from the field of actual life as 
''unpractical generalities." The facts of 
life itself, and the claims of the working- 
class masses, afford a practical commentary 
on what the modern age has made of the 
body social. The task of our age, in face 
of these facts, is not merely to criticise, but 
to set about remedying them ; which means 
going to the primal thoughts for the direc- 
tion in which we must now consciously 
guide them. For the time is gone by, when 
the old instinctive guidance could suffice 
for mankind ; what it could accomplish up 
till now, is now no longer enough. 

One of the main questions raised by the 
practical criticisms of the times is this : — 
How is a stop to be put to the oppression 
which working-class humanity suffers un- 
der private capitalism. The owner, or con- 
troller, of capital is in a position to press 
other men's bodily labour into the service 
of any work he takes on hand? In the 
social relation that arises in the co-opera- 
tion of capital and human labour-power, 
there are three elements to be distin- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 107 

guished: the enterprising activity, which 
must rest on the basis of individual ability 
in some one person or group of persons ; — 
the relation of the "enterpriser" to the 
worker, which must be a ''relation in 
right"; — and the production of an object 
which acquires a commodity value in the 
circuit of economic life. For the ''enter- 
prising" activity to find its scope in a 
healthy way in the social order, there must 
be forces at work in social life which afford 
men's individual abilities the best possible 
mode of manifesting themselves; and 
therefore there must be one province of 
the body social which secures a person of 
ability free occasion for the employment 
of his abilities, and makes it possible to 
leave the estimation of their value to other 
people's free and voluntary understanding. 
It is obvious, that the social activities, 
which a man is enabled to exercise by 
means of capital, fall within that domain 
of the body social which takes its laws and 
administration from the spiritual life. If 
the political State interferes to influence 



108 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

these personal activities, then it is un- 
avoidable that its influence should involve 
a disregard of individual abilities. For the 
political State is necessarily based on what 
is similar and equal in all men's claims in 
life; and it is its business to translate this 
equality into practice. Within its own do- 
main, the State must ensure every man hav- 
ing a fair chance to make his personal 
opinion tell. For the work the State has 
to do, the question of understanding or not 
understanding individualities does not 
come in ; and therefore whatever the State 
does towards realising its own principles 
ought not to have any influence upon the 
exercise of men's individual abilities. Nor 
should it be possible for the prospect of 
economic advantage to determine the exer- 
cise of individual ability where capital is 
needed. Many persons in weighing the 
pros and cons of capitalism lay great stress 
upon this economic advantage. In their 
opinion, it is only through the incentive 
which this gives to individual ability that 
individual ability can be induced to exert 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 109 

itself; and they refer, as "practical men" 
to the "imperfections of human nature," 
with which they claim to be well ac- 
quainted. No doubt, in that social order, 
under which the present state of things 
matured, the prospect of economic advan- 
tage has come to play a very important 
part, and is in no small measure the very 
cause of that state of things, of which we 
are now feeling the effects, and which calls 
for the development of some other, dif- 
ferent incentive to the exercise of indi- 
vidual ability. This incentive must lie in 
the "social sense," that will spring from 
a healthy spiritual life. Strong in the free- 
dom of the spiritual life, a man's educa- 
tion and schooling will send him forth 
equipped with impulses, that will lead him, 
thanks to this social sense, to realise the 
bent of his personal abilities. 

There is not necessarily anything high- 
flown or visionary about such a belief. No 
doubt high-flown illusions have wrought 
immeasureable harm in social endeavour, 
as in other fields. But all that has been 



no THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

said before is enough to shew, that the 
view here urged is not based on any fanci- 
ful notion that "the spirit" will work won- 
ders, provided the "spiritually-minded" 
only talk enough about it. It is the out- 
come of observation, of watching how peo- 
ple actually work, when they work to- 
gether freely in the spirtiual field. This 
work in common, takes, of its own nature, 
a social character, provided it can dcvelope 
in real freedom. 

It is only the lack of freedom in spiritual 
life, w^hich has kept its social character in 
abeyance. The fashion in which the forces 
of social life have found expression 
amongst the leading classes, has restricted 
their use and value to limited circles of 
mankind, in a way which is anti-social. 
What was produced in these circles could 
only be brought artificially within reach of 
working-class mankind. This section of 
mankind could draw no strength for the 
support of their souls from this spiritual 
life; for they had no real part nor property 
in it. Schemes for "popular instruction," 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 1 I I 

for "the uplifting of the masses," "Art for 
the People," and so forth, — all such things 
are not really the means of spreading spir- 
itual property amongst the people, whilst 
spiritual property keeps the character it 
has acquired in recent times. For "the 
people," as regards their inmost life and 
being, are not in it. All that it is possible 
to give them, is as it were a bird's-eye 
view of these spiritual treasures from a 
point outside. And if this is true of spir- 
itual life in its narrower sense, it has also 
its meaning for those offshoots of spiritual 
activity, which find their way into economic 
life on the basis of capital. In a sound 
order of society, the worker will not stand 
at his machine, and come into contact with 
nothing but its mechanism ; whilst the capi- 
talist alone knows what is the destiny of 
the manufactured commodities in the 
round of economic life. The workman 
must share fully in the whole concern, and 
be able to form a distinct conception of 
the part that he himself is playing in social 
life through his work in making the com- 



112 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

modity. The enterpriser must hold regu- 
lar conferences, with the object of arriv- 
ing at a common field of ideas that shall 
include both employers and employed. 
Such conferences must be regarded as be- 
ing as much a part of the business as the 
actual work. This is a healthy way of 
conducting business, and one that will 
arouse in the workers a sense, that by the 
control of capital, if he uses it properly, 
a person benefits the whole community, — 
including the worker, as a member of it. 
The above-board dealing, necessary to a 
willing understanding on the part of 
others, will make the "enterpriser" careful 
to keep his business methods above sus- 
picion. 

All this will not seem negligible to any- 
one with a sense for the social effects of 
that inner community of feeling and ex- 
perience, which arises from the prosecu- 
tion of a common task. Those who possess 
this sense, will clearly perceive, how great- 
ly it is to the benefit of economic activity 
that the direction of economic affairs, 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 113 

based on capital, should come from the 
spiritual life, and have its roots in the spir- 
itual domain. This preliminary condition 
must be f ultilled, before people's present in- 
terest in capital and in increasing it sim- 
ply for the sake of profits, can give place 
to an interest in the actual business of pro- 
duction and the doing of the job on hand. 

Persons of a socialist turn of mind at 
the present day aim at bringing the means 
of production under the control of the 
community. What is right and desirable 
in their aims can only be achieved if this 
control is exercised through the free spir- 
itual domain. Such control through the 
free spiritual domain will do away with all 
possibility of that economic coercion, which 
brings with it such a sense of degradation, 
and which the capitalist exerts when his 
capitalist activities are born and bred of 
the forces of economic life; and it will also 
prevent that crippling of men's individual 
abilities, which inevitably results when 
these abilities are directed by the political 
State. 



114 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

E a r n i n g s on everything done through 
capital and individual ability must depend 
in a healthy social order, like all other spir- 
itual work, on the free initiative of the doer 
and on the free appreciation of those who 
wish the work done. The estimate of what 
these earnings should be, must, in this 
field, be in accordance with a man's own 
free view — on what he is willing to re- 
gard as a suitable return on his work, tak- 
ing into consideration the preliminary 
training he requires for it, the incidental 
expenses to which he is put, etc., etc. 
Whether he finds his claims gratified or 
not, will depend on the appreciation his 
services meet with. 

Social arrangements on the lines here 
proposed will lay the basis for a really free 
contractual relation between the work- 
director and the work-doer, — a relation 
resting not on barter of commodities (or 
money) for labour-power, but on an agree- 
ment as to the share due to each of the two 
joint authors of the commodity. 

The sort of service, that is rendered to 



CAPITALISM AXD SOCIAL NEEDS 115 

the body social on the basis of capital, de- 
pends of its very essence on the part played 
in it by men's individual abilities. Nothing 
but the free spiritual life can give men's 
abilities the impulse they need for their de- 
velopment. Even in a society, where the 
development of individual ability is tied up 
with the administration of the political 
State, or to the forces of economic life, even 
there, real productivity, in everything re- 
quiring the expenditure of capital depends 
on as much of free individual power as 
can find its way through the shackles im- 
posed upon it. Only, under such condi- 
tions, the development is an unhealthy one. 
It is not the free development of individual 
ability, exercised on a basis of capital, that 
has brought about conditions under which 
human labour-power can be nothing but 
a commodity; it is the shackling of these 
powers through the political life of the 
State or in the circuit of economic proc- 
esses. An unprejudiced recognition of this 
fact is at the present day a necessary first 
step to everything that has to be done in 



116 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

the field of social organisation. For the 
superstition has grown up in modern times, 
that the measures needed for the welfare of 
society must come from either the political 
State or the economic system. And if we 
pursue any further the road along which 
this superstition has started us, we shall 
set up all manner of institutions, that, far 
from leading man to the goal towards 
which he is striving, will increasingly ag- 
gravate the oppressive conditions from 
which he is seeking to escape. 

At the time when people first began to 
think about the question of capitalism, this 
same capitalism had already set up a disease 
in the body social. The disease is what 
people feel and are aware of. They see 
that it is something which has to be coun- 
teracted. But one must see further than 
that; one must recognise, that the origin 
of the disease lies in the fact, that the cre- 
ative forces, at work in capital, have been 
absorbed into the circuit of economic life. 
If one is to work in the direction already 
urgently demanded by the evolutionary 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 1 1 7 

forces of mankind, one must not suffer 
oneself to be deluded by the type of 
thought, which regards as an unpractical 
piece of idealism the demand, that the spir- 
itual life should be set free, and given con- 
trol of the employment of capital. 

At the present moment, certainly, peo- 
ple seem but little disposed to connect the 
spiritual life in any way directly with that 
social idea, which is to put capital on sound 
lines. They try to connect onto something 
that falls within the circuit of economic 
life. They see, that the manufacture of 
commodities in recent times has led to 
wholesale dealing, and this again to the 
present form of capitalism. And now 
they propose to replace this form of in- 
dustrial economy by a syndical system, un- 
der which the producers will be working 
for their own wants. But since of course 
industry must retain all the modern means 
of production, the various industrial con- 
cerns are to be united together into one 
big syndicate. Here, they think, everyone 
will be producing to the orders of the com- 



118 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

munity, and the community cannot be an 
exploiter, because it would simply be ex- 
ploiting itself. And for the sake, or from 
the necessity, of linking onto something 
that already exists, they turn their eyes 
on the modern State, with a view to con- 
verting this into a comprehensive syndi- 
cate. One thing however they leave out 
of their reckoning, namely, that the bigger 
the syndicate the less possibility there is 
of its being able to do what they expect of 
it. Unless individual ability finds its place 
in the syndical organism in the manner and 
form already described, it is impossible that 
communal control of labour should result 
in a healthy commonwealth. 

The reason why people are so ill-disposed 
to-day to form an unbiassed opinion as 
to the position spiritual life occupies in 
the social order, is that they are accustomed 
to think of what is spiritual as being at the 
opposite end from all that is material and 
practical. Not a few will find something 
rather absurd in the view here put forward, 
that the employment of capital in economic 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 119 

life must be regarded as the way in which 
one side of the spiritual life manifests it- 
self. It is conceivable, that in characteris- 
ing what is here said as absurd, members 
of the late ruling classes may even find 
themselves in agreement with socialist 
thinkers. If one would see all that this 
supposed absurdity means for the health 
of the body social, one must examine cer- 
tain currents of thought in the present day, 
— currents of thought, which spring from 
impulses in the soul, that are quite honest 
after their fashion, but w^hich nevertheless, 
wherever they find entrance, check the de- 
velopment of any really social way of 
thinking. 

These currents of thought tend more or 
less unconsciously away from all that gives 
due energy and driving power to the in- 
ward life. They make for a conception 
of life, — an inner life of thought, of soul, 
directed to the pursuit of knowledge, — 
which shall be as it were an island in the 
common sea of human existence. Thus 
they are not in a position to build the bridge 



120 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

between this inner life and that other which 
binds men to the everyday world. It is not 
uncommon to-day, to find persons who 
think it rather "distinguished" to sit aloft 
in castles of cloudland, meditating in some- 
what pedantic abstractness over all man- 
ner of ethico-religious problems. One 
finds them meditating on virtue and how 
a man may best acquire it ; how he should 
dwell in loving-kindness towards his neigh- 
bours, and how he may be so blessed as 
to find ''a meaning in life." And, all the 
time, one recognises the impossibility of 
bridging the gulf between what these folks 
call good, and sweet, and kindly, and right, 
and prop'^r, and all that is going on in the 
outer world amongst men's everyday sur- 
roundings, in the manipulation of capital, 
the payment of labour, the consumption, 
production and circulation of commodities, 
the system of credit banking, and the stock- 
exchange. One can see two main streams 
running side by side even in men's very 
habits of thought, one of which remains 
up aloft as it were in divine spiritual alti- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 121 

tudes, and has no desire to build a bridge 
from spiritual impulses to life's ordinary 
afifairs. The other stream runs on, void 
of thought, in the everyday world. But 
life is a single whole. It cannot thrive 
unless the forces that dwell in all ethical 
and religious life bring driving power to 
the most commonplace, everyday things of 
life, into the sort of life that some persons 
may think rather beneath them. For, if 
people neglect to build the bridge between 
the two regions of life, then not only their 
religious and moral life, but their social 
thinking too, degenerates into mere wordy 
sentiment, far removed from commonplace, 
true realities. And then these common- 
places have their revenge as it were. For 
there is then still a sort of "spiritual" im- 
pulse in man, urging him in pursuit of 
every imaginable ideal and every conceiv- 
able thing that he calls "good"; whilst on 
the other side there are those different in- 
stincts, which are in opposition to these 
ideals, — the instincts that underlie the 
ordinary daily needs of life and require an 



122 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

economic system for their satisfaction, and 
to which he devotes himself minus his 
spirit. He knows no practicable path from 
his conception of spirituality to the busi- 
ness of everyday life. And so everyday 
life acquires a form, which is not even 
supposed to have any connection with those 
ethical impulses that remain aloof in the 
more distinguished altitudes, all soul and 
spirit. And then, the daily commonplaces 
are avenged; for the ethical religious life 
turns to a living lie in men's hearts, be- 
cause, all unperceived it is being dissevered 
from commonplace practice and from all 
direct contact with life. 

How many people there are to-day, who, 
from a certain ethical or religious distinc- 
tion of mind, have all the will to live on 
a right footing with their fellow-men, who 
desire to act by others only in the best 
conceivable way, and yet fall short of the 
kind of feeling that would enable them to 
do so, because they cannot lay hold upon 
any social conception that finds its outlet 
in practical ha1)its of life! It is people 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 123 

such as these, who, at this epoch-making 
moment in the world's history when social 
questions have become so urgent, are block- 
ing the road to a true practice of life. They 
reckon themselves very practical persons, 
and all the time are visionary obstruction- 
ists. One can hear them making speeches 
like this: "What is really needed, is for 
people to rise above all this materialism, 
this external material life which drove us 
into the disaster of the great war and into 
all this misery. They must turn to a spir- 
itual conception of life." And to illustrate 
man's path to spirituality, they are forever 
harping upon great men of byegone days, 
who were venerated for their conversion 
to a spiritual way of thinking. One finds, 
however, that directly one tries to bring the 
talk round to the very thing that the spirit 
has to do for real practical life, and what 
is so urgently required of the spirit to- 
day: the creation of daily bread, one is at 
once reminded, that the first thing, after 
all, is to bring people again to acknowledge 
the spirit. At this moment however, the 



124 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

urgent thing is, to employ the powers of 
the spiritual life to discover the right prin- 
ciples of social health. And for this it is 
not enough that men should make a hobby 
of the spirit, as a bye-path in life. Every- 
day existence needs to be brought into line 
with the spirit. It was this taste for turn- 
ing spiritual life into bye-paths, that led 
the late ruling classes to find their pleasure 
in social conditions that ended in the pres- 
ent state of affairs. 

In the social life of the present day, the 
control of capital for the production of 
commodities is very closely bound up with 
the ownership of the means of production, 
amongst which capital is of course in- 
cluded. And yet these two relations be- 
tween man and capital are quite different 
as regards the way they operate within the 
social system. The control of capital by 
individual ability is, when suitably applied, 
a means of enriching the body social with 
wealth which it is to everyone's interest 
should exist. Whatever a person's posi- 
tion in life, it is to his interest that nothing 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 125 

should be wasted of those individual abili- 
ties which flow from the fountain-head of 
human nature, and through which things 
are created that are of use to the life of 
man. These abilities, however, never be- 
come developed, unless the human beings 
endowed with them have free initiative in 
their exercise. Any check to the free flow 
from these sources means a certain mea- 
sure of loss to the welfare of mankind. 
Now capital is the means of making these 
abilities available for extended fields of 
social life. It must be to the true interests 
of everybody in a community to have the 
collective property in capital so adminis- 
tered, that individuals specially gifted in 
one direction, or groups of people with spe- 
cial qualifications, should be able to acquire 
the use of capital, and should use it in the 
way their own particular initiative prompts 
them. Everybody, be he brainworker or 
labourer, if he consults his own interests 
without prejudice, must say: "1 should 
not only wish an adequate number of per- 
sons, or groups of persons, to have abso- 



126 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

lutely free use of capital, but I should also 
like them to have access to capital on their 
own initiative ; for they themselves are the 
best judges of how their particular abilities 
can make capital a means of producing 
what is useful to the body social." 

It does not fall within the scope of this 
work to describe how, in the course of man- 
kind's evolution, as individual human abili- 
ties came to play a part in the social order, 
private property also grew up out of other 
forms of ownership. Ownership has, un- 
der the influence of the division of labour, 
gone on developing in this form within the 
body social down to the present day. And 
it is with present conditions that we are 
here concerned, and with what the next 
stage in their evolution must be. But in 
whatever way private property arose, — by 
the exercise of power, conquest, etc., — it is 
an outcome of the social creativeness which 
is associated with individual human ability. 
And yet socialists to-day, with their 
thoughts bent upon social reconstruction, 
hold the theory, that the only way to ob- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 127 

viate what is oppressive in private owner- 
ship, is to turn it into communal owner- 
ship. They put the question thus : How 
can private property in the means of pro- 
duction be prevented from arising, so that 
its oppressive effect upon the unpropertied 
masses may cease? In putting the ques- 
tion in this way, they overlook the fact, 
that the social organism is something that 
is constantly changing, growing. One 
cannot ask about a growing organism. 
What is the best form of arrangement to 
preserve it in the state which one regards 
as the suitable one for it. One can think 
in that way about something which starts 
at a certain point and then goes on in the 
same way ever afterwards without any 
essential change. But that will not do for 
the body social. Its life is a continual 
changing of each thing as it arises. To 
fix on some form as the very best, and ex- 
pect it to remain in that form, is to under- 
mine the very conditions of its life. 

One of the conditions of life for the 
body social is, that whoever can serve the 



128 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

community through his individual abiH- 
ties should not be deprived of the power 
to do so freely of his own initiative. Where 
such service involves free use of the means 
of production, to hamper free initiative 
would be to injure the general social in- 
terests. I am not proposing here to urge 
the argument commonly used in this con- 
nection, namely, that the prospect of the 
gains associated with the ownership of 
means of production is needed in order to 
stimulate the ''enterpriser" to exertion. 
The whole form of thought represented in 
this book, with its conception of a progres- 
sive evolution in social conditions, must 
lead to the expectation, that this kind of 
incentive to social activity may be elimin- 
ated, through the emancipation of the spir- 
itual life from its association with the polit- 
ical and economic system. Once it is free, 
the spiritual life will of itself inevitably 
evolve a social sense; and this social sense 
will provide incentives of a very different 
kind from the hope of economic advantage. 
But it is not so much a question of the 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS !29 

kind of impulse which makes men Hke pri- 
vate ownership of the means of production, 
as of whether the necessary conditions of 
hfe for the body social are best fulfilled 
when the use of the means of production 
is free, or when it is directed by the com- 
munity. And here, one must always clearly 
remember, that one cannot draw conclu- 
sions for the social organism of the present 
day from the conditions of life supposed 
to be found in primitive communities, but 
from such only as correspond to man's 
present stage of development. At the pres- 
ent stage, it is not possible for individual 
ability to find fruitful exercise through 
capital in the round of economic life, un- 
less its use of capital is free. For fruit- 
ful results in any field of production there 
must be opportunity for the free use of 
capital; not because it gives an advantage 
to some individual or group; but because, 
opportunely directed by a social sense, it 
is the best way of serving the community. 
Whether he is producing alone or in com- 
pany, the material a man is working on 



130 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

is in a manner bound up with himself, 
much Hke the skill of his own arms or legs. 
To interfere with his free use of the means 
of production, is like crippling the free 
exercise of his bodily skill. Private own- 
ership, however, is simply the medium for 
this free use of the means of production. 
As regards ownership, all that matters to 
the body social, is that the owner should 
have the right to use it of his own free 
initiative. Clearly, two things are joined 
together in social life, that are of quite 
distinct implications for the body social — 
one, the free iise of the capital basis of 
social production; the other, the "relation 
in right" which arises between the user of 
capital and other people, from the fact that 
his right of use precludes these other peo- 
ple from free activity on this same capital 
basis. 

It is not the free use of itself in the be- 
ginning, which does the mischief in society, 
but the continuance of the right of use 
after the circumstances have come to an 
end which linked that use opportunely to 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 131 

individual abilities. Anyone who looks 
upon the social organism as a changing, 
growing thing, cannot fail to see what is 
meant. He will look about for some pos- 
sible mode of arranging what is helpful 
to life in one way, so that it may not have 
bad effects in another. For a live thing, 
there is no possible mode of arrangement, 
that can lead to fruition, in which the fin- 
ished process in its growth will not in turn 
become detrimental. And if one is one- 
self to collaborate at a growing organism, 
— as man necessarily must in the body so- 
cial, — one's business cannot lie in checking 
necessary developments, for the sake of 
obviating detrimental consequences. That 
would be to sap every possibility of life 
for the body social. It is solely a question 
of intervening at the right moment, when 
what was helpful and opportune is begin- 
ning to turn detrimental. 

Free use of the capital-basis through in- 
dividual ability: — this must be an estab- 
lished possibility. The ownership right in- 
volved in it must be shif table, directly this 



132 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

right begins to turn to a means of unright- 
fully acquiring power. There is one in- 
stitution, introduced in our times, which 
partially meets this social requirement, 
though only for what one may call "spirit- 
ual property." "Spiritual property" when 
its author is dead, passes after a while into 
the ownership of the community for free 
use. Here we have an underlying concep- 
tion, that is in accordance with the actual 
nature of life in a human society. Closely 
as the production of a purely spiritual pos- 
session is bound up with the private en- 
dowment of the individual, yet this posses- 
sion is, at the same time, a result of the 
common social life, and must pass at the 
right moment into the common life. But 
it is just the same with other property. By 
aid of his property the individual person 
produces for the service of the community; 
but this is only possible in co-operation 
with the community. And accordingly the 
right to the use of a piece of property can- 
not be exercised apart from the interests 
of the community. The problem is not, 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 133 

how to abolish ownership of the capital- 
basis? but, how can ownership be best 
turned to the service of the community ? 

The way to do so, is to be found in the 
threefold order of society. The people 
combined in the threefold order act as a 
collective community through the "rights- 
State." The exercise of individual abili- 
ties comes under the spiritual organisation. 

Everything in the body social indicates 
the necessity of introducing this threefold 
organic arrangement, when regarded with 
a sense of actualities, and not from a view 
entirely dominated by subjective opinions, 
theories, predilections, and so forth; — and 
this question of the relation of individual 
abilities to the capital-basis of economic 
life and its ownership, is a special case in 
point. The "rights-State" will not inter- 
fere with the formation and control of pri- 
vate property in capital, so long as the con- 
nection of the capital-basis with personal 
ability remains such, that this private con- 
trol implies a service to the total com- 
munity. Moreover, it will remain a 



134 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

''rights-State" in respect to its dealings with 
private property. It will never itself take 
over the ownership of private property. 
It will only ensure that the right of use 
is transferred at the right moment to a 
person or group of persons, who, again, 
through individual conditions, are capable 
of establishing a purely personal relation 
to this ownership. This will benefit the 
body social in two different aspects. The 
democratic foundation of the ''rights- 
State," being concerned with the everything 
that touches all men equally^ will enable a 
sharp watch to be kept, that property rights 
do not in course of time become property 
wrongs. And again, — (since the State does 
not itself administer property, but ensures 
its transference to individual ability), — 
men's individual abilities will devclope their 
fructifying power for the whole body of the 
community. Under an organisation of this 
sort, property rights, or their exercise, can 
safely be left attached to a personality, for 
so long as seems opportune. One can con- 
ceive the representatives in the "rights- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 135 

State" laying down quite different regula- 
tions at different times as to the way in 
which property is to be transferred from 
one person or group to another. At the 
present day, when private property has 
come to be regarded altogether with great 
distrust, the proposal is, to convert private 
property wholesale into communal prop- 
erty. If people proceed far enough along 
this road, they will find out, that they are 
strangling the life of the community; and, 
taught by experience, they will then pursue 
a different path. But it would undoubtedly 
be better now, at once, to take measures 
that would secure social health on the lines 
here indicated. 

So long as an individual alone, or in 
combination with a group, continues to 
carry on that productive activity which 
first procured him a capital-basis to work 
on, so long he shall retain the right to use 
accumulations of capital arising as business 
gains on the primary capital where the 
gains are applied to the productive exten- 
sion of the business. Directly this par- 



136 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ticular personality ceases to control the 
work of production, the accumulation of 
capital shall pass on to another person, or 
group, to carry on the same kind of busi- 
ness, or some other branch of productive 
industry useful to the whole community. 
Capital also, that accrues from a productive 
industry but is not used for its extension, 
must from the beginning go the same way. 
Nothing shall count as the personal prop- 
erty of the individual directing the busi- 
ness, except what he receives in accordance 
with the claim he made when he first took 
over the business — claims, which he felt 
able to make on the ground of his personal 
abilities, and which appear justified by the 
fact, that he was able to impress people 
with his abilities sufficiently for them to 
trust him with capital. If through his per- 
sonal exertions the capital has been in- 
creased, then a portion of this increment 
will pass into his private ownership, — the 
addition so made to his original earnings 
representing a percentage on the addition 
to the capital. Where the original control- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 137 

ler of an Industry is unable, or unwilling, 
to continue in charge, the capital used to 
start it will either pass over to the new 
controller with all incumbent obligations, 
or else will revert to the original owners, 
according as these latter may decide. 

In such an arrangement, one is dealing 
with transfers of a right. The legal regu- 
lation of the terms on which such trans- 
fers shall take place, is a matter for the 
"rights-State." It will be for the "rights- 
State" also to see that these transfers are 
carried out and to conduct the process. 
It is conceivable that, in detail, the regula- 
tions laid down for any such transfer of 
a right will take very various forms, ac- 
cording as the common sense of right (the 
"rights-consciousness") varies in its view 
of what is right. No mode of conception, 
which, like the present one, aims at being 
true to life, will ever attempt to do more 
than indicate the general direction that 
such regulation should take. If one keeps 
to this direction and uses one's understand- 
ing, one will always, in any concrete in- 



138 THE THREEFOLD COMxMONWEALTH 

Stance discover what is the appropriate 
thing to do. One must judge always from 
the special circumstances and according to 
the spirit of the thing, what the right 
course is in actual practice. The more true 
to life any mode of thought is, the less it 
will attempt to lay down hard-and-fast 
rules for details, from preconceived no- 
tions of what is requisite. On the other 
hand, the very spirit of such a form of 
thought will lead necessarily and decisively 
to one result or another. For instance, it 
results unquestionably from such a mode 
of thought, that the "rights-State" must 
never use its control of rights-transfers to 
get any capital into its own hands. Its 
only business will be to see, that the trans- 
fer is made to a person, or group, whose 
individual abilities seem to warrant it. 
This at once presupposes also, as a general 
principle, that anyone, who is proposing to 
effect a transfer of capital under the cir- 
cumstances described, will be at liberty to 
select his successor in the use of it. He 
will be free to select a person or group of 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 139 

people, or else to transfer the right of use 
to a corporate body belonging to the spirit- 
ual organisation. For anyone, who has 
rendered practical services to society 
through his management of capital is a 
person likely to judge from native ability 
and with social sense, what should be done 
with the capital afterwards. And it will 
be more advantageous to the community to 
go upon what he decides, than to discard 
his judgment, and leave the decision to 
persons who have no direct connection with 
the matter. 

Some settlement of this kind will be re- 
quired in the case of capital accumulations 
over a certain amount, which have been 
acquired by persons, or groups, through 
the means of production (including land), 
— except where these accumulations be- 
come private property by the terms origin- 
ally agreed upon for the exercise of in- 
dividual ability. 

In this latter case, what is so earned, as 
well as all savings that spring from the 
results of a person's own work, will remain 



140 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

until the owner's death, or some later date, 
in the private possession of the earner or 
his descendants. Until this date also, these 
savings will draw an interest from the per- 
son who is given them to procure the means 
of production. The amount of the inter- 
est will be the outcome of the general 
*'rights-consciousness," and be fixed by the 
''rights-State." In a social order, based 
on the principles here described, it will be 
possible to effect a complete distinction be- 
tween proceeds that are due to the employ- 
ment of means of production, and sums 
accumulated through the earnings of per- 
sonal labour, spiritual or physical. It is in 
accordance with the common sense of right, 
as well as to the general social interest, 
that these two things should be kept dis- 
tinct. What a person saves and places at 
the disposal of a productive industry, is a 
service rendered to the general interests, 
inasmuch as it makes it possible in the first 
place for personal ability to direct produc- 
tion. But where, after deducting the 
rightful interest, there is an increase on 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 141 

the capital, arising out of the means of 
production, such increase is due to the col- 
lective working of the whole social organ- 
ism, and must accordingly flow back into 
it again in the way above described. All 
that the ''rights-State" will have to do, is 
to pass a resolution, that the capital accum- 
ulations in question are to be transferred 
in the prescribed way. It will not be called 
on to decide, which material or spiritual 
branch of production is to have the disposal 
either of capital so transferred or of capi- 
tal savings; — for this would lead to the 
State tyrannising over spiritual and ma- 
terial production, which are best directed 
for the body social by men's individual 
abilities, as has been shewn. But it will 
be open to anyone to appoint a corporate 
body of the spiritual organisation to exer- 
cise the right of disposal over capital that 
he has created, if he does not want him- 
self to select his successor. 

Property acquired through saving, to- 
gether with the interest on it, will also pass 
at the earner's death, or a while later, to 



142 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

some person or group actively engaged in 
spiritual or material production, — but only 
to a producer, not to be turned into an in- 
come by someone who is not producing. 
The choice will be made by the earner in 
his last will. Here again, if no person or 
group can be chosen direct, it will be a 
question of transferring the right of dis- 
posal to a corporation of the spiritual sys- 
tem. Only when a person himself makes 
no disposition of his savings, then the 
"rights-State" will act on his behalf, and 
require the spiritual organisation to dis- 
pose of them. 

In a society ordered on these lines, due 
regard is paid both to private initiative on 
the part of the individual and at the same 
time to the social interests of the general 
community. Indeed the latter receive their 
full satisfaction through private initiative 
being set free to serve them. Whoever has 
to entrust his labour to the direction of 
another person, can at least know, under 
such an order of things, that their joint 
work will bear fruit to the best advantage 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 143 

of the community, and therefore of the 
worker himself. 

The social order, — as here conceived, — 
will establish a proportionate relation, satis- 
factory to healthy human sense, between 
the prices of manufactured products and 
the two joint factors of their production, — 
namely human labour-power and these 
rights of use over capital (embodied in the 
means of production) which are subject to 
the common sense of right. No doubt all 
sorts of imperfections may be found in 
this. Imperfections do not matter. For 
a mode of thought that is true to life, what 
is of importance is not to lay down a per- 
fect and complete programme for all time, 
but to point out the direction for practical 
work. The special instances, discussed 
here, are simply intended as illustrations 
to map out the direction more clearly. Any 
particular illustration may be improved 
upon; and this will be all to the good, pro- 
vided the right direction is observed. 

Through social institutions of this kind, 
personal and family feelings will admit of 



144 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

being brought into harmony with the 
claims of general humanity. It may of 
course be pointed out, that there will be a 
great temptation for people to transfer 
their property during their life-time to 
their descendants, or to some one of them, 
and that it is quite easy to give such a per- 
son the appearance of a producer, whilst 
all the while he may be quite incompetent 
compared to others, who would be much 
better in his place. The temptation to do 
this, can however be reduced to a minimum 
under social institutions of the above kind. 
The "rights-State" has only to require, that 
property, which is transferred from one 
member of a family to another, should un- 
der all circumstances, be made over to a 
corporation of the spiritual system, after 
the lapse of a certain period from the first 
owner's death. Or an evasion of the rule 
may be prevented in some other way by 
rights-law. The "rights-State" will merely 
see to it, that the property is so made over. 
The spiritual organisation must make pro- 
vision for the choice of the person to in- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS [45 

herit it. In the fulfillment o£ these princi- 
ples a general sense will grow up, that the 
next generation must be trained and edu- 
cated to fit them for the body social and 
that one must not do social mischief by 
passing capital on to persons who are non- 
productive. No one, in whom a real so- 
cial sense is awakened, cares to have his 
own connection with the capital basis of 
his work carried on by any individual or 
group whose personal abilities do not war- 
rant it. 

These proposals cannot be regarded as 
a mere Utopia by anybody who has a sense 
of what is really practicable. For the kind 
of institutions here proposed are such as 
spring directly out of existing circum- 
stances anywhere in life. Only, people will 
have to make up their minds, gradually to 
give up administering spiritual life and in- 
dustrial economy within the "rights-State," 
and not to raise opposition, when private 
schools and colleges are started and eco- 
nomic life put on its own footing, — seeing 
that this is just what is wanted. There is 



146 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

no need to abolish the State schools and 
the State economic undertakings straight 
away. But, beginning perhaps in quite a 
small way, it will be found increasingly 
possible to do away with the whole struc- 
ture of State education and State economy. 
This requires, however, first of all, in- 
dividuals, convinced that these, or some 
such social ideas as these are the right 
ones, and able so thoroughly to imbue 
themselves with their rightness, that they 
will make it their business to spread them. 
Wherever such ideas find understanding, 
they will arouse confidence in the possi- 
bility of changing the present state of 
things into a healthy one, where the same 
evils will not arise. But this is the only 
kind of confidence which can lead to a 
really healthy state of things. For, before 
one can arrive at any such confidence, one 
must have a clear perception in what way, 
practically, it is possible to connect new in- 
stitutions on to the existing old ones. The 
essential feature of the ideas here put for- 
ward would seem to be, that they do not 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 147 

propose to bring about a better future by 
destroying the present social order further 
than has already been done; but that their 
realisation will come through building upon 
what already exists; and that as the build- 
ing-up process goes on, what is rotten and 
unsound will fall away. No new views nor 
teachings, that do not aim at establishing 
confidence in this respect, will attain the 
object which it is absolutely necessary to 
attain, namely, an unbroken course of evo- 
lution, in which all that men have hitherto 
achieved, the wealth they have worked for, 
and the faculties they have won, are not 
cast to the winds, but stored up. Even 
the most sweeping radical may feel confi- 
dence in a form of social reconstruction 
that still preserves the old heritage, when 
he has ideas laid before him which are 
capable of initiating really sane and healthy 
developments. Even he will have to recog- 
nise, that whatever class of men may get 
into power, they will not be able to remove 
existing evils, unless their impulses are 
supported by ideas that can put health and 



148 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

life into the body social. To despair, — to 
believe it impossible to find a sufficient 
number of people who, even in these days 
of turmoil will have understanding for 
these ideas, if only they are spread with 
enough energy, — this would be to despair 
of human nature and of its openness to 
healthful and purposeful impulses. Is it 
desperate? That is not the question to be 
asked. But rather. What must I do to 
give full force to the teaching and spread 
of ideas that can awaken men's confidence? 
Any effective spread of these ideas will 
find its first obstacle in the habits of 
thought of the present age, which will quar- 
rel with them on two grounds : — Either it 
will be objected in some form or another, 
that any dismemberment in the unity of 
the social life is inconceivable, that its 
three supposed branches cannot be torn 
apart, seeing that in actual practice they 
are everywhere intertwined. Or else peo- 
ple will opine, that it is quite possible un- 
der the onefold state to give each of the 
three branches its necessary independent 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 1 49 

character; that all these ideas are mere 
cobweb-spinning, with nothing in them, 
and quite apart from all reality. The first 
objection comes from thinking nnreally, 
from presupposing that unity of life is only 
possible in a community of human beings, 
when the unity is introduced by ordinance. 
What life in reality requires is, however 
just the reverse. Unity must be the re- 
siiU, the final outcome of all the streams of 
activity flowing together from various di- 
rections. This idea is the one in accord- 
ance with life; but it had the evolution of 
the latter age against it; and so the tide 
of life in men bore down against the arti- 
ficial "order" in its path,— and landed in 
the present social conditions. The second 
preconception arises from inability to dis- 
tinguish the radical difference in the work- 
ing of the three systems of social life. Peo- 
ple do not see, that man stands in a sepa- 
rate and peculiar relation to each of the 
three; that, for the full development of its 
special quality, each of these three rela- 
tions requires a ground to itself in actual 



150 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

life, where it can evolve its own form apart 
from the other two, in order that all three 
may combine in their working. 

There was a view held in time past by 
the physiocrats, that, — Either men make 
artificial government regulations for eco- 
nomic life, which check its free expan- 
sion, — and then these regulations are 
harmful; — Or else, the laws tend in the 
same direction as economic life does when 
left to itself, — and then they are super- 
fluous. As an academic theory, this view 
has had its day ; but it still crops up every- 
where as a habit of thought, and plays 
havoc in men's brains. People think, 
that if one department of life is guided by 
its own laws, then everything else whatever 
that is needed in life must follow as a con- 
sequence out of this one department. That 
if, for instance, economic life were regu- 
lated in a way to satisfy men's wants, that 
then this well-ordered economic soil would 
infallibly produce the right sort of spiritual 
life and "rights" life as well. But it is 
not possible; and only a way of thinking 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 151 

foreign to all reality can believe it possible. 
In the circuit of economic life there is 
nothing zvhatevcr that affords of itself any 
motive to guide that which runs all through 
the relation of man to man and proceeds 
from the sense of right. And if people 
insist on regulating this relation by eco- 
nomic motive the result will be, that the 
human being, with his labour and his con- 
trol of the means of labour, will be bound 
hand and foot to the economic life. Eco- 
nomic life will go on like clockwork, and 
man will be a wheel in it," — Economic life 
has a tendency always to go on in one course, 
which needs rectifying from another side. 
It is neither, that the "rights" regulations 
are good, provided they move in the course 
set by economic life — nor, that when they 
run counter to it, they are bad. But rather, 
that if the course taken by economic life 
is constantly under the influence of those 
rules of "right" which concern man sim- 
ply as man, then a human existence within 
the economic life becomes possible. And 
not till individual ability grows on its own 



152 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ground, quite detached from the economic 
system, conveying ever afresh to economic 
Hfe those forces that economics and indus- 
try are powerless to produce, can economic 
Hfe itself develope in a way beneficial to 
men. It is a curious thing: — in purely 
external matters, people are ready enough 
to see the advantage of a division of labour. 
They do not expect a tailor to milk his own 
cow. But when it comes to a general divi- 
sion and co-ordination of human life, then 
they think that no good can come of any- 
thing but a onefold system. 



That social ideas which follow the line 
of real life will rouse objections on every 
side, is a matter of course. For real life 
breeds contradictions. And anyone, who 
is thinking in accordance with life, will 
determine on realising arrangements that 
involve living contradictions, needing again 
other arrangements to reconcile them. He 
must not suppose, that an institution which 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 153 

is demonstrably, to his thinking, an "ideally 
perfect" one, will involve no contradic- 
tions when realised in practice. The so- 
cialism of the present day is absolutely 
justified in laying down the proposition, 
that the institutions of the modern age, in 
which production is carried on for individ- 
ual profit, must be replaced by a different 
system, under which production shall be 
carried on for the general consumption. 
But anyone, who fully and wholly accepts 
this proposition will not arrive at the de- 
duction drawn by modern socialism : Ergo, 
the means of production must be trans- 
ferred from private to communal owner- 
ship. Indeed, he will be forced to a very 
different conclusion, namely, that right 
methods must be taken for conveying to 
the general community that which is pri- 
vately produced on the strength of indi- 
vidual energy and capacity. The tendency 
of the economic impulses of the new age 
has been to obtain revenue by manufactur- 
ing in mass. The aim of the future must 
be, to find out, by means of Associations, 



154 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

what, in view of the actual needs of con- 
svimption, is the best method of production, 
and what channels are open from producer 
to consumer. The "rights" institutions 
will take care, that a productive industry 
does not remain tied up with any individual 
or group of people longer than their per- 
sonal ability warrants. Instead of coni- 
mmial ozvncrship of the means of produc- 
tion, there will be a circulation of the means 
of production throughout the body social, 
bringing them constantly afresh into the 
hands of those persons whose individual 
ability can employ them to the best service 
of the community. That connection be- 
tween personality and the means of pro- 
duction, which hitherto has been effected 
by private ownership, will thus be estab- 
lished for periods of time. For it will be 
thanks to the means of production that the 
head of a business and his subordinates are 
enabled by their personal abilities to earn 
the income that they asked. They will not 
fail to make production as perfect as pos- 
sible, since every improvement brings 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 155 

them, not indeed the whole profits, but a 
portion of the returns. For profits, — as 
shewn above, — go to the community only 
to the extent of what is over, after deduct- 
ing the quota due to the producer for im- 
provements in production. And it is in 
the spirit of the whole thing, that, if pro- 
duction falls off, the producer's income 
must diminish in proportion as it rises with 
the enhancement of production. But al- 
ways, in every case, the manager's income 
will come out of the spiritual work he has 
done. It will not come out of profits, de- 
pending on conditions that do not rest with 
the spiritual work of the directing person- 
ality, but with the interplay of the forces at 
work in the communal life. 

It will be seen, that with the realisation 
of social ideas such as these, institutions 
that we already have will acquire an alto- 
gether new significance. The ownership 
of property ceases to be what it has been 
up till now. But instead of going back 
to an obsolete form, such as communal 
ownership would be, it is carried on a step 



156 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

further to something quite new. The ob- 
jects of ownership are brought into the 
stream of social hfe. No private owner, 
for his own personal interests, can control 
them to the injury of the general public; — 
neither, again, can the general public con- 
trol them bureaucratically to the injury of 
the private person; — but private persons, 
who are suitable, will have access to them, 
as a means of serving the public. 

A sense for the general public interest 
will have a chance to grow up, when im- 
pulses of this sort are realised, which place 
production on a sound basis, and safe- 
guards the body social from sudden crises. 
An administrature too, which occupies it- 
self solely with the processes of economic 
life, will be able to bring about any adjust- 
ments for which necessity may arise in the 
course of these processes. Suppose, for 
instance, a business concern were not in a 
position to pay its creditors the interest due 
on the savings of their labour, then, — if it 
is a business that is nevertheless recognised 
as meeting a want, — it will be possible to 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 157 

arrange for other industrial concerns to 
subsidise it by the voluntary agreement of 
everyone concerned in them. 

Self-contained, on a basis of "rights" 
determined from outside itself, and sup- 
plied from without by a constant flow of 
fresh human ability as it comes on the 
scenes, the economic life, within its own 
circuit, will concern itself with nothing 
but its proper work. Accordingly it will 
be possible for it to facilitate a distribu- 
tion of wealth that will ensure each person 
receiving that which he is rightfully en- 
titled to receive, according to the commun- 
ity's general prosperity. And, if one per- 
son appears to have more income than an- 
other, it will only be because his individual 
abilities make this More, this "surplus," 
of advantage to the community. 



The taxes which are needed for the 
"rights" system can be settled between the 
leaders of the "rights" life and the eco- 



158 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

nomic life in a social organism shaped by 
the Hght of such conceptions as these. 
Whilst everything needed for the main- 
tenance of the spiritual organisation will 
come as good-will from the voluntary ap- 
preciation of the private members of the 
body social. The spiritual organisation 
will rest on a healthy basis of individual 
initiative, exercised in free competition 
amongst the private individuals suited to 
spiritual work. 

But it is only in a social organism of 
this form, that the "rights" administra- 
tion will find the understanding necessary 
to a right and just distribution of wealth. 
In an economic life, where the claim upon 
men's labour is not prescribed by the 
stresses in single branches of production, 
but which has to carry on business with 
as much as the "rights-law" allows it, the 
value of goods will be determined by what 
men actually put into it in the way of work. 
It will not allow the work men do to be 
determined by goods-values into whose 
formation human welfare and human dig- 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 159 

nity do not enter. An order of economy 
such as this, will not be blind to rights 
that arise from purely human relations. 
Children will have a right to education. 
The father of a family will be able to have 
a higher income than a single man. He 
will get his "surplus" through a system 
instituted by agreement between all three 
social organisations. The right to edu- 
cation might be met, under these arrange- 
ments, in the following way. The man- 
aging body of the economic organisation 
estimates the amount of revenue that can be 
given to education, according to the gen- 
eral economic conditions; and the "rights- 
state" fixes the rights of individual persons, 
according to the spiritual organisation's 
opinion in each case. 

Here again, since we are thinking on 
lines of reality, this instance is merely in- 
tended to indicate the direction in which 
such arrangements might be worked. In 
detail, it is possible that quite a different 
sort of arrangement may be found to be 
the right thing. But, in any case, the 



160 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

"right thing" will be found only through 
all three independent branches of the body 
social conjointly, in working together for 
a common end. For the purposes of this 
sketch, the underlying mode of thought 
is merely concerned to discover the really 
practical thing, (unlike so much to-day that 
passes for practical), — namely, a function- 
al division of the body social, such as shall 
give man a basis on which to work socially 
to some purpose. 

On a par with a child's right to educa- 
tion, is the right of the aged, of invalids, 
widows and sick persons, to a maintenance ; 
and the capital-basis for their support will 
be passed through the three systems of the 
body social in much the same way as the 
capital contributed for the education of 
those who are not yet come to their work- 
ing powers. The essential point in all this 
is, that the income received by anyone who 
is not personally an earner, should not be 
an outcome of the economic life; but the 
other way about: — economic life must be 
dependent on what is the outcome of the 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS I6I 

common sense of right. The people work- 
ing in any economic organism will have all 
the less from their work, the more has to 
go to the non-earners; only the "less" will 
be borne fairly by all the members of the 
body social, when social impulses, of the 
kind here meant, are really put into prac- 
tice. The education and maintenance of 
those who cannot work concerns all man- 
kind in common; and under a "rights- 
state" detached from economic life it will 
become the common concern in actual prac- 
tice. For the "rights" organisation is the 
field for realising those things in which 
every grown human being has a voice. 
^ Under a social order, that follows this 
line of conception, the surplus that a man 
performs on the strength of his individual 
ability will pass on to the community ; and 
the just maintenance for the deficiency of 
the less able will also come from the com- 
munity. "Surplus value" will not be cre- 
ated for the unjustified enjoyment of pri- 
vate individuals, but to enhance everything 
that can give wealth of soul and body to 



162 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

the whole social organism, and to foster 
whatever is born of it, even though not di- 
rectly serviceable. 

It may be thought, that, after all, except 
for the idea of it, there is no practical value 
in keeping the three members of the body 
social thus carefully distinct, and that the 
same result would come about "of itself" 
inside a uniform constitution of State, or 
an economic guild covering the same 
ground as the state, and based on com- 
munal ownership of the means of produc- 
tion. One needs, however, only to look at 
the special form of social institution that 
must result from realising the threefold 
division. For instance, the use of money 
as a mode of payment will not have to be 
legally recognised by the state administra- 
ture. It will owe its recognition to the 
measures taken by the various administra- 
tive bodies within the economic organisa- 
tion. For money, in a healthy social organ- 
ism, can be nothing except an order on 
commodities that other people have pro- 
duced, and which one can draw out of the 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 163 

common economic pool, because of the 
commodities that oneself has produced and 
paid in. It is the money currency that 
makes a sphere of economic activity into an 
economic unit. The whole economic life 
is a roundabout way of everyone produc- 
ing for everyone else. Within the sphere 
of economic activity, commodity-values are 
the only things dealt with; and in this 
sphere, not only anything made, but also 
anything done, originating in the spiritual 
or State organisations, also takes on the 
character of a commodity. What a teacher 
does for his pupils, is, for the economic cir- 
cuit, a commodity. The teacher's individ- 
ual ability is no more paid for, than the 
worker's labour-power is paid for. All 
that can possibly be paid for in either, is 
that which proceeds from them and can 
pass as a commodity or commodities into 
the economic circuit. How free initiative, 
and what the "rights-law" must act, in 
order to bring the commodity into exist- 
ence, lies as much outside the economic cir- 
cuit itself as the action of the forces of 



164 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

nature upon the corn yield in a bountiful 
or barren year. For the economic circuit, 
both the spiritual organisation, — as re- 
gards its claim on economic returns, — and 
the State also, are simply producers of com- 
modities. Only, what they produce is not 
a commodity within their own spheres; it 
first becomes a commodity, when it is taken 
up into the economic circuit. Within their 
own domains, the spiritual organisation 
and the state have no business dealings ; — 
the economic body, through its administra- 
ture, carries on business with their work 
when it is done. 

The purely economic value of any com- 
modity (or work done, in so far as it finds 
expression in the money that represents 
its equivalent value), will depend on the effi- 
ciency in economic adniinistrafion devel- 
oped by the body economic. It will depend 
on the measures taken by the economic ad- 
ministration, how fertile economic life can 
become on the basis afforded by the spirit- 
ual and "rights" systems of the body social. 
The money-value of a commodity will then 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 165 

indicate, that the economic organisation is 
producing the commodity in a quantity- 
corresponding to the want for it. Sup- 
posing the premises laid down in this book 
to be reahsed, the body economic will not 
be dominated by the impulse to amass 
wealth through sheer quantity of produc- 
tion ; but the production of goods will adapt 
itself to wants, through the agency of the 
associative guilds that will spring up in all 
manner of connections. In this way, the 
proportion, that in each case corresponds 
to the actual want, will become established 
between the money-value of an article and 
the arrangements made in the body social 
for producing it.(§§) In the healthy so- 



(§§). Author's Note. A sound proportion between 
the prices of made goods can only be achieved in eco- 
nomic life as an outcome of social administration, that 
springs up in this way from the free co-operation of 
the three branches of the body social. The proportion 
between prices must be such, that anyone working re- 
ceives as counter-value for what he has produced so 
much as is necessary to satisfy his total wants and the 
wants of those belonging to him, until he has again 
turned out a product of equivalent labour. It is imposs- 
ible to fix such a price-relation officially in advance; 
it must come as the resultant of living co-operation be- 



166 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

cial organism, money will really be nothing 
but a measure of value ; since, behind every 
money piece, or money token, there stands 
the tangible piece of production, on the 
strength of which alone the owner of the 
money could come by it. These conditions 
will, of their nature, necessitate arrange- 
ments being made, which will deprive 
money of its value for its possessor, when 
once it has lost its original significance. 
Arrangements of this sort have already 
been alluded to. Money property passes 
back, after a fixed period, into the common 
pool, in whatever the proper form may be ; 
and to prevent money, withdrawn from 



tween the associations actively at work in the body social. 
Prices will however certainly settle down into such a 
normal relationship, provided the joint work of the asso- 
ciations rests on a healthy co-operation between the three 
divisions of social life. One may rely on the result as 
securely as on having a safe bridge, when it is built 
according to the proper laws of mathematics and me- 
chanics. It may be said, that social life does not in- 
variably obey its own laws, like a bridge. This facile 
objection however will not be made by anyone able to 
recognise, that it is primarily the laivs of life, and not 
the laws of mathematics, which all through this book 
are conceived as underlying social life. 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 167 

use in industry, being held back by its pos- 
sessors to the evasion of the provisions 
made by the economic organisation, there 
can be a new coinage, or re-stamping, from 
time to time. One result of this will no 
doubt be, that the interest derived from 
any capital sum will diminish as years go 
on. Money will wear out, just as com- 
modities wear out. Nevertheless, such a 
measure will be a right and just one for 
the State to enact. There can be no com- 
pound interest. If a person lays by sav- 
ings, he has certainly rendered past serv- 
ices that gave him a claim on future coun- 
ter-service in commodities, — just as pres- 
ent services claim present service in ex- 
change. But his claims cannot go beyond 
a certain limit ; for claims, that date from 
the past, require present labour-services to 
satisfy them ; and they must not be turned 
into a means of economic coercion. The 
practical realisation of these principles will 
put the problem of safeguarding the 
money standard upon a sound basis. For, 
no matter what form money may take ow- 



168 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

ing to other conditions, the safeguard of 
its standard lies in the intelligent organisa- 
tion of the whole body economic through 
its administrature. The problem of safe- 
guarding the money standard will never 
be satisfactorily solved through any State 
by means of law. The present States will 
only solve it, when they give up attempting 
the solution on their own account, and leave 
the body economic to do what is needful, 
after it is detached from the State. 

There is much talk of the modern divi- 
sion of labour, of its results in time-saving, 
in perfecting the manufacture and facili- 
tating the exchange of commodities. Lit- 
tle attention is paid to its effect on the rela- 
tion of the human worker to what he is 
doing. In a social order that is based on 
division of labour, no person at work is 
ever really earning his income himself, he 
is earning it through the work of every- 
body employed in the body social. When 
a tailor makes a coat for his own use, the 
relation of himself to the coat he is making 
is not the same as that of a man living 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 169 

under primitive conditions, who has all the 
other necessaries of life to provide for him- 
self. The tailor makes the coat in order 
to enable him to make clothes for other 
people ; and its v a 1 u e for him depends sole- 
ly and entirely on what services other peo- 
ple render. The coat is, really, a means of 
production. Many people may call this 
''splitting hairs"; — but one sees that it is 
not so, when one comes to consider the 
formation of commodity-values in the eco- 
nomic process. It then becomes obvious, 
that in an economic organism based on 
division of labour it is absolutely impossi- 
ble to work for oneself. All one can do, 
is to work for others, and set others to 
work for one. One can no more work for 
oneself, than one can eat oneself. One 
can, however, establish practices, that are 
in direct opposition to the very essence of 
division of labour ; — as, for instance, when 
the whole system of goods-production is 
based on transferring to the individual as 
private property what he is only able to 
produce through occupying a place in the 



170 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

social organism. Division of labour makes 
for a social organism in which the indi- 
vidual shall live in accordance with the con- 
ditions of the whole body of the commun- 
ity. Economically, division of labour pre- 
cludes egoism. And if, in spite of this, 
egoism persists, in the form of class privi- 
lege and such things, then a State of in- 
stability sets in, leading to disturbances in 
the body social. We are living under such 
conditions to-day. To insist that the con- 
ditions in the "rights-State," amongst other 
things, must bring themselves into line with 
the system of divided labour and its non- 
egotistic method of production, may appear 
to many people futile. In this case, they 
may as well draw the deduction from their 
premises: There is no doing anything. 
The social movement can lead to nothing. 
As respects the social movement, one can 
certainly do no good, unless one is willing 
to give Reality her due. It is inherent in 
the mode of thought underlying the whole 
treatment of the subject, throughout these 
pages, that man's doings within the body 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 171 

social must be brought into line with the 
conditions of its organic Hfe. 



Anyone, who can only form his notions 
by the system he is accustomed to, will be 
uneasy when he is told, that the relation 
between the work-director and the worker 
is to be separated out from the economic 
process. He will believe that such a sep- 
aration is bound to lead to depreciation of 
money and a return to primitive conditions 
of industrial economy. — (Dr. Rathenau 
takes this view in his "After the Flood"; 
and from his standpoint it is a defensible 
one.) — The threefolding of the social 
order, however, prevents any risk of this. 
The autonomous economic system, work- 
ing conjointly with the '"rights" system, 
completely detaches the whole state of 
money conditions from labour conditions, 
which latter rest entirely on the rights-law. 
The "rights" conditions cannot have any 
direct influence on the money conditions. 



172 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

for these are the result of the economic 
administration. The "relation in right" 
between work-director and worker will not 
upset the balance -or shew itself in money- 
values at all. For, when wages are elimin- 
ated, (which represent a relation of ex- 
change between commodities and labour- 
power), money-value remains simply a 
measure of the value of one commodity (or 
piece of work) as against another. If one 
studies the threefold division in its actual 
effects upon the body social, one must be- 
come convinced that such a division will 
lead to institutions unknown to the forms 
of State that have existed up till now. 

These new institutions can be cleared of 
all that to-day has an atmosphere of class- 
struggle. For this struggle comes from 
the wages of labour being tied up with the 
economic processes. Here, we are describ- 
ing a form of social organism, in which the 
conception of wages of labour undergoes a 
transformation no less complete than the 
old conception of property. But the so- 
cial relation of human-beings becomes 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 173 

thereby a much more living and healthy- 
one. One must not jump to the conclusion, 
that these proposals amount in practice 
merely to converting time-wages into piece- 
v^ages. One might be led to this conclu- 
sion by a one-sided view of the matter. 
But this one-sided view is not that which 
is put forward as the right one here. Here, 
we are considering, in its connection with 
the whole organisation of the body social, 
the elimination of the wage-relation alto- 
gether, and the adoption of a share-rela- 
tion, based on contract in respect to the 
common work performed by the work- 
director and the workers. It may seem 
to somebody, that the portion of the pro- 
ceeds which falls to the worker's share is 
a *'piece-wage" ; but if so, it is because he 
fails to see, that this kind of ''piece-wage" 
(which, properly speaking, is not a 'Svage" 
at all) finds expression in the value of the 
product in a way, that puts the worker so- 
cially into a position as regards the other 
members of the body social very different 
from that relation between him and them, 



174 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

which has sprung out of class supremacy 
in which economics are the only factor. 
Class struggle finds no place here ; and this 
requirement is satisfied. 

And for those who hold the theory, — not 
infrequently to be heard in socialist circles, 
— that the course of "evolution" itself must 
bring the solution of the social question, 
that it is impossible to set up views and 
say that they ought to be realised, — to these 
we shall reply: Most certainly evolution 
will bring about that which must be; but 
men's ideas are realities and active im- 
pulses within the body social. And when 
time has gone on a little further, and that 
has become realised which to-day can only 
be thought, then these realised thoughts 
will be there in the evolution. With time, 
when the thoughts of to-day have become 
part of evolution, then those, who look to 
''evolution alone" and have no use for 
fruitful ideas, may be better able to form 
a judgment. Only, when that time comes, 
it will be too late to accomplish certain 
things, which are required now by the facts 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS 175 

of to-day. In the social organism, it is not 
possible to set about observing the evolu- 
tion from outside, objectively, as one does 
in nature. One is obliged to take an active 
part in the evolutionary process. And it 
is therefore so disastrous for all sound 
thought on social matters that it is to-day 
up against views that are bent on "demon- 
strating" social requirements as one "dem- 
onstrates" a fact in natural science. In 
the comprehension of social life, there can 
be no "proof," unless one takes into ac- 
count not only what is actually present 
existing, but also that other factor, latent 
within men's impulses, often unknown to 
themselves, seed-like and striving towards 
realisation. 



One of the ways, in which the threefold 
system will shew that it is based on the 
essentials of human social life, will be the 
removal of the judicial function from the 
sphere of the State. It will be for the 



176 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

State institutions to lay down the rights 
that are to be observed between men or 
groups of men; but the passing of judg- 
ment comes within institutions proceeding 
from the spiritual organisation. In pass- 
ing judgment, a very great deal depends on 
what opportunity the judge has for per- 
ceiving and understanding the particular 
circumstances of the person whom he is 
trying. Nothing can ensure this percep- 
tion and understanding, except those ties 
of trust and confidence that draw men to- 
gether in the institutions of the spiritual 
order, and which must be made the main 
consideration in appointing the courts of 
law. Possibly, the administrature of the 
spiritual organisation might nominate a 
panel of magistrates who could be drawn 
from the widest range of spiritual profes- 
sions and would return to their own call- 
ing at the expiration of a certain period. 
Everybody then would have the opportun- 
ity, within certain limits, of selecting a 
particular person on the panel for five or 
ten years at a time, — someone in whom the 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NLEDS 177 

rhythmic system, which, to arrive at any 
he feels sufficient confidence to be willing 
to accept his verdict in a private or criminal 
suit, if it came to the point. There would 
always be enough magistrates, in the neigh- 
borhood where anyone was residing, to 
give a value to the power of selection. A 
complainant would always have to apply 
to the magistrate competent to the de- 
fendant. 

Only consider, what such an institution 
would have meant for the territories of 
Austria-Hungary! In districts of mixed 
language, the member of any nationality 
would have been able to choose a judge of 
his own race. And anyone acquainted 
with Austrian affairs will know, how 
greatly such an arrangement might have 
contributed to keep the balance in the life 
of her various nationalities. But apart 
from nationality, there arc many fields of 
life where such an arrangement might 
have a beneficial effect on healthy develop- 
ment. For more detailed acquaintance 
with points of law, the judges thus ap- 



178 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

pointed and the courts will be assisted by- 
regular officials, whose selection will also 
be determined by the spiritual administra- 
ture, but who will not themselves decide 
cases. The same administrature will also 
have to constitute courts of appeal. The 
kind of life, that will go on under the con- 
ditions here supposed, will of its nature 
bring a judge into touch with the mode of 
life and feeling of those whom he has to 
judge; his own life, outside the brief period 
of judicial office, will make him familiar 
with their lives and circles. Everywhere 
and in all its institutions, the healthy social 
organism will draw out the social sense of 
those who share its life, — and so too with 
the judicature. The execution of a sen- 
tence is the affair of the * 'rights-State." 



It Is not necessary for the moment here 
to go into arrangements, entailed in other 
fields of life as well by the realisation of 
what has been put forward in these pages. 



CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL NEEDS I 79 

A description of them would obviously take 
up unlimited space. 

The particular instances already given 
of the forms social life will take, should 
dispose of a notion, (which I have actually 
met with when lecturing on this subject in 
various places), that this is an attempt to 
revive the three old "estates" of the 
Plough, the Sword and the Book. What 
is here intended, is just the very opposite 
to this division into grades. Men will not 
be divided into functions of the body 
social, neither as Classes, nor Estates. It 
is the body social itself which will be func- 
tionally divided. And thereby man for 
the first time will be able to be truly man ; 
for the three social divisions will be such, 
that he himself has his own life's roots in 
each of them. His calling gives him a 
footing in one of the three, and to this he 
belongs through his practical interests. 
And his relation to the other two will be 
a very actual and living one; for his con- 
nection with their institutions is of a kind 
to create such a living relation. Threefold 



180 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

will be the body social, as apart from man 
and forming the groundwork of his Hfe; 
and each man will unite its three divisions 
within himself. 



IV 



International Aspects of the Threefold 
Commonwealth 

The internal structure of a healthy social 
organism makes its international relations 
also threefold. Each of its three branches 
will have its own independent relation to 
the corresponding branch of other three- 
fold organisms. All manner of intercon- 
nections will spring up between the eco- 
nomic network of one district and that of 
another, without being directly influenced 
by the connections between their "rights- 
States." (§§) And, conversely, the rela- 

^_ (§§).^ Author's Note. It may be urged, that the 
"rights" relations and the economic relations form one 
mdivisible whole in actual reality. This however misses 
the point of what is meant by the threefold division. 
Of course, in the mutual intercourse and exchange that 

181 



182 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

tions between their ''rights-States" will, 
within certain limits, develope in complete 
independence of their economic connec- 
tions. (§§) This independence of origin 
will enable these two sets of relations to 
act as a check upon each other in cases of 
dispute. Such a close interweaving of in- 
terests will grow up, as will make terri- 
torial frontiers seem negligible in the life 
of mankind. 

The spiritual organisations of the differ- 
ent districts will become linked in a way 
that only the common spiritual life of man- 
kind can make possible. Detached from 
the State and placed on its own footing, the 
spiritual life will develope all manner of 
connections, that are impossible when the 
recognition of spiritual services does not 



goes on between the various social organisms, taken as 
a collective process, the two difTcrent sorts of relations, — 
between their "rights" systems and their economic sys- 
tems, — work together as a single whole. But it is a 
different matter, whether one makes rights regulations 
to suit the requirements of economic intercourse, or 
whether one first shapes them by the common sense of 
right, and then takes the combined result, whatever it 
may be. 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 183 

rest with a spiritual corporation, but with 
the "rights-State." So far as this is con- 
cerned, there is no real difference between 
the services rendered by science, — which 
are frankly international, — and those ren- 
dered in any other spiritual field. The com- 
mon language of a nation, and all that 
goes along with language, constitutes one 
such field of spiritual life, — including the 
national consciousness itself. The people 
of one language-area do not come into un- 
natural conflict with those of another lan- 
guage-area, except when they try to make 
their national form of civilisation predom- 
inant through the use of their State-organ- 
isation or their economic power. If one 
national civilisation spreads more readily, 
and has greater spiritual fertility than an- 
other, then it is quite right that it should 
spread; and the process of spreading will 
be a peaceful one, provided it comes about 
solely through the agency of the spiritual 
communities of the different social organ- 
isms. 

At the present time, the keenest oppo- 



184 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

sition to the threefold order will come pre- 
cisely from those groups of mankind which 
have clustered round a common origin of 
speech and national culture. Such oppo- 
sition however must break down before 
the common goal of all mankind, — a goal 
towards which men will set their faces with 
increasing consciousness from the very ne- 
cessities of life in the modern age. Man- 
kind will come to feel, that each of its 
many parts can only lead a life worthy 
of their common humanity, when bound 
in living links to all the rest. National 
affinities, together with other impulses of 
a natural order, are amongst the causes 
which historically led to the formation of 
communities in "rights" and communities 
of industrial economy. But the forces to 
which nationalities owe their growth re- 
quire for their development free mutual 
interaction, untrammelled by any ties that 
grow up between the respective bodies of 
State and the economic Associations. And 
the way of achieving this, is for the various 
national communities to develope the three- 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 185 

fold order within their own social struc- 
tures; and then their three branches can 
each expand its own relation with the cor- 
responding branches of the other com- 
munities. 

In this way, peoples, States, economic 
bodies, become grouped together in forma- 
tions that are very various in shape and 
character, and every part of mankind be- 
comes so linked with the other parts, that 
each is conscious of the life of the other 
pulsing through its own daily interests. 
A league of nations is the outcome, — aris- 
ing out of root impulses that correspond to 
actual realities. There will be no need to 
"institute" one, built up solely on legal 
theories of right. (§§) 

To anyone, who is thinking of these 
things in terms of real life, it must seem 



(§§). Author's Note. Some people think these things 
"Utopias," because they fail to see tliat, in reality, actual 
life itself is struggling towards the very kind of ar- 
rangement which seems to them so Utopian, and that 
the actual mif chief going on in real life is due precisely 
to the fact that these arrangements are nowhere to be 
found. 



186 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

of especial importance, that the aims here 
set before the body social, whilst having a 
meaning for the whole of mankind collec- 
tively, are such as can be put in practice 
by any single corporate community, no 
matter what may be the attitude adopted 
by other countries for the time being. — 
If one corporate community has organised 
itself into its three natural divisions, the 
administratures of the three divisions can 
act together as a single body, and thus per- 
fectly well form relations even with out- 
side communities that are not yet prepared 
to adopt the threefold order themselves. 
Whoever leads the way with the threefold 
order, will be furthering the common aim 
of all mankind. What actually has to be 
done, will be carried through by that 
strength which an aim brings with it in 
practical life, when it is rooted in the actual 
guiding forces of humanity, — rather than 
by diplomatic agreements, or drafting 
schemes at conferences. It is on a basis 
of reality that this aim is conceived in 
thought. It is one to be pursued in the 



lATEKXATIONAL ASPECTS 187 

real action of life at any and every point 
amongst the communities of men. 

Anyone, watching what was going on 
in the life of peoples and of States during 
the last 30 or 40 years from a point of 
view such as given in these pages, could 
see how the State-structures that had been 
built up in the course of history, with their 
blending of spiritual life, "rights" and in- 
dustrial economy, were becoming involved 
in international relations that were heading 
for catastrophe. At the same time, it was 
equally plain, that the opposite forces at 
work within mankind's unconscious im- 
pulses were tending towards the threefold 
order. Here lies the remedy for those con- 
vulsions that have been brought about by 
the mania for unification. The way of 
life among the "leaders of mankind" was 
not however of the kind to enable them to 
see what had been for years past slowly 
working up. In the spring and summer 
of 1914, one still found "statesmen" say- 
ing, that, thanks to the governments' exer- 
tions, the peace of Europe was, so far as 



188 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

could be humanly foreseen, assured. These 
"statesmen" simply had not the faintest 
notion, that all that they were doing and 
saying had absolutely lost touch with the 
course of real events. Yet these were the 
people who were looked up to as "practi- 
cal"; and people were regarded as little 
better than "cranks" at that time, who had 
been forming other views during all those 
years, which differed from those of the 
"statesmen" ; — such views, for instance, as 
those expressed by the present writer 
months before the war-catastrophe, when 
addressing a small audience in Vienna, — 
(a large audience would certainly have 
laughed him down.) He then spoke of 
the danger menacing, in more or less these 
words: — "The tendencies prevalent in the 
life of the present day will continue to 
gather strength, until they end by annihi- 
lating themselves. And if one reads social 
life with the eyes of the spirit, one can per- 
ceive everywhere the ghastly signs of so- 
cial tumours forming. Here is the great 
menace to our civilisation, manifest to any- 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 189 

one able to read below the surface of exist- 
ence. It is this that is so appalling, so 
overpowering, that — even if one could 
otherwise repress all zeal on behalf of a 
science in which spiritual knowledge is 
made instrumental to the knowledge of 
life's events, — these things alone would im- 
pell one to speak, to proclaim the remedy, 
to hurl one's words as it were in the face 
of the world. If the body social follows 
the same line of evolution as hitherto, it 
will become full of sores — sores of civilisa- 
tion that will be for it what cancers are for 
man's natural body." — Such were the foun- 
dations upon which life rested, and which 
the ruling circles neither could nor would 
see. But their special view of life led them 
to find in such conditions a pretext for 
measures that would have been better left 
undone, but for none that were of a sort to 
establish confidence between the different 
communities of mankind. — Whoever is un- 
der the belief that the social necessities of 
the time played no part amongst the imme- 
diate causes of the present world-catas- 



190 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

trophe, should ask himself this question : — 
What direction would political impulses 
have taken in the States that were rushing 
into mutual war, if the "statesmen" had 
recognised the social needs of the times, 
and embodied these in their aims? And 
how much that was done would have been 
left undone, if their efforts had thus been 
directed to something more substantial 
than piling up inflammable material, that 
was bound sooner or later to lead to an 
explosion? As one watched the relations 
between the States during recent years, and 
the cancer creeping on in them, owing to 
the form that social life had taken amongst 
the leading sections of mankind, one could 
understand how a man of broadly human 
spiritual interests, such as Hermann 
Grimm, was led to speak as he did, so early 
in 1888, when discussing the form that 
social aims had taken amongst the leading 
circles : — ''The end they set before them, is 
the ultimate formation of mankind into 
a commonwealth of brothers, who ever 
afterwards shall go forward hand-in-hand, 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 191 

actuated only by the noblest impulses. 
Merely to follow history on the map of 
Europe, one would imagine that a general 
internecine massacre were the next step 
imminent." Only the thought, that a 
"road must be found" to the true riches 
of human life, this thought alone can keep 
alive a sense of human worth. It is a 
thought * 'which hardly seems compatible 
with the gigantic preparations for war 
that we and our neighbours too are making. 
And yet, I believe in it. And in the light 
of this thought we must live ; unless indeed 
it were better to put an end to human 
existence altogether by common consent, 
and appoint an official day of universal 
suicide" (Herman Grimm : "The Last Five 
Years,"— Pub. 1888.)— What were these 
"preparations for war," save steps taken 
by men who were bent upon preserving 
their old State constructions in one and un- 
divided form, despite the fact that the evo- 
lution of the new age had made this onefold 
form incompatible with the very essence 
of healthy relations between the peoples. 



192 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

Health can, nevertheless, be brought into 
the common life of the peoples, by that 
form of social order that takes its shape 
from the requirements of the times. 

The State-structure of Austria-Hungary 
had, for more than half a century, been 
struggling towards a new formation. Its 
spiritual life, which had its roots in a mul- 
tiplicity of racial communities, called for 
a form of development to which the old 
onefold State, created by outworn impulses, 
offered a continual obstacle. The incident 
with which the great catastrophe opened — 
the quarrel between Austria and Serbia — 
is a conclusive sign, that the political fron- 
tiers of the onefold State ought not, after 
a certain point of time, to have formed the 
cultural frontiers for the spiritual life of 
its various nationalities. Could the spir- 
itual life have been on its own footing, in- 
dependent of the political State and politi- 
cal boundaries, it would have had a chance 
to devclope regardless of frontiers, in a 
manner befitting the true purpose of the 
several nationalities; and the struggle, 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 193 

which was deeply rooted in the spiritual 
life, need never have found vent in a politi- 
cal catastrophe. Deliberate development 
in this direction seemed an utter impossi- 
bility, sheer lunacy indeed, to all "states- 
man-like" thinkers in Austria-Hungary. 
Their habits of thought admitted of no 
other conception than that the boundaries 
of State must also be the boundaries of 
national community. They could not un- 
derstand, how spiritual organisations could 
be formed, cutting across state frontiers, 
and comprising the school system and other 
branches of spiritual life. It was against 
all their habitual conceptions. And yet 
this "inconceivable" thing is what inter- 
national life demands in the new age. A 
really practical thinker ought not to be 
held up by apparent impossibilities, and 
assume that the obstacles in the way of 
doing what is requisite are insurmountable. 
He must simply concentrate on surmount- 
ing them. But instead of turning their 
statesman-like thought along lines that 
would have been in unison with modern- 



194 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

age requirements, they devoted their whole 
energies to bolstering up the onefold form 
of State against the demands of the age by 
all manner of institutions. The State grew 
more and more unwieldy and impossible in 
its structure. And in the second decade 
of the twentieth century, it had reached a 
point when it could no longer keep itself 
together in its old form, and must either 
passively await dissolution, or else attempt 
to accomplish externally by force the in- 
ternally impossible, and maintain itself by 
the power which a war-footing would give 
to it. In 1914 there remained for the 
Austro-Hungarian "statesmen" but one 
alternative : — Either they must direct their 
policy along the lines of life in a healthy 
social order, and make known their inten- 
tion to the world, — a course which might 
have revived new confidence, — or else they 
were absolutely obliged to start a war, in 
order to keep the old structure from tumb- 
ling about their ears, — What happened in 
1914 must be judged from these underlying 
causes; otherwise it is impossible to think 



IKTERNATIONAL ASPECTS |95 

correctly and justly about the question of 
"blame." The fact that many nationali- 
ties went to compose the fabric of her State, 
might well seem to have made it Austria- 
Hungary's mission in the world's history 
to lead the way in evolving a healthy form 
of social order. The mission was not rec- 
ognised. And this sin against the spirit 
of the world's historic life drove Austria- 
Hungary into war. 

And what about the German Empire ? — 
The German Empire was founded at a 
moment, when the call of the new age for 
the healthy form of social life was en- 
deavouring to find practical realisation. To 
have realised it, might have given the em- 
pire a justification for its existence in the 
world's history. All the social impulses 
met together in this realm of Central 
Europe, as if it were the ground allotted 
to them from of old in the world's history 
for them to work themselves out. The so- 
cial tendency in thought was to be found 
in any number of places, but within the 
German Empire it assumed a form that 



196 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

plainly shewed whither it was tending. 
Here lay the work which should have given 
the empire its substance and purport. Here 
was the field of labour for those who were 
at the head of its affairs. This empire 
would have required no justification in the 
community of modern nations, had it re- 
ceived at its foundation a task and purport 
such as the forces of history themselves 
seemed to suggest. But instead of dealing 
with the task on a scale corresponding to 
its magnitude, those at the head of affairs 
contented themselves with "social reforms" 
arising out of the exigencies of the hour, 
and were delighted when such reforms as 
these were held up as models by other coun- 
tries. And all the time, they were more 
and more seeking to establish the external 
prestige of the empire upon a pattern taken 
from the antiquated conceptions of the 
power and glory of States. They went on 
building up an empire, which was as con- 
trary as the Austro-Hungarian fabric to 
everything that history shewed to be an 
active force in the modern life of the peo- 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 1 97 

pies. But of these forces the empire's gov- 
ernors saw nothing. The particular form 
of State-structure, that they had in their 
mind's eye, could only rest on military 
force. Whereas the form of State, that 
modern history demanded, must have 
rested on a practical realisation of the im- 
pulses that were making for a healthy so- 
cial organism. In giving these impulses 
practical realisation, they would have made 
themselves a different place in the com- 
munity of peoples from the position they 
actually occupied in 1914. Through fail- 
ure to understand what was demanded by 
the life of the peoples in this new age, 
German policy had, in 1914, reached a 
dead-point as regards any possibility of 
further action. For years past, German 
policy had been blind to everything that 
ought to have been accomplished; it had 
busied itself with every conceivable thing 
that lay outside the forces of modern evo- 
lution, and that was bound inevitably from 
sheer hollowness to "tumble down like a 
house of cards." 



198 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

The whole tragedy, thus brought about 
in the course of history and summed up in 
the fate of the German Empire, is to be 
found very faithfully reflected, for any- 
one who would take the trouble to examine 
and give the world a true and exact picture 
of what occurred in the leading quarters 
of Berlin in the last days of July and 1st 
August, 1914. Of these occurrences very 
little still is known, either at home or 
abroad. Whoever is acquainted with them 
knows, that German policy at that time 
was a card-house policy, that it had reached 
a dead-point in action; so that the whole 
question, as to whether there should be a 
war, or how it should begin, was inevit- 
ably made over to the decision of the mili- 
tary authorities. And the responsible people 
amongst the military authorities could not, 
from a military point of view, act other- 
wise than they did act, because from that 
point of view, the situation could only be 
regarded as they regarded it; for outside 
the military department things had got to 
a pass where no further action was possi- 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 199 

ble. This would be a notorious fact in 
the world's history, if there were any 
who would make it their business to bring 
to light what went on in Berlin at the end 
of July and on the first of August, — in par- 
ticular on July 31 and August 1. People 
are still under the delusion, that nothing 
is to be gained by a minute knowledge of 
these occurrences, if one knows the pre- 
vious events that led up to them. But it is 
knowledge that must not be shirked, if 
there is to be any discussion of the ques- 
tion of "blame," as it is called to-day. Of 
course, there are other ways of arriving 
at the causes, which were already of long 
standing; but a detailed knowledge of these 
few days reveals the way in which these 
causes acted. 

The notions, which at the time drove 
Germany's leaders into war, continued 
their baneful work. They became the 
mood of a nation. And these same notions 
prevented the people in power from acquir- 
ing by the bitter experiences of the final 
terrible years that insight, for want of 



200 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

which the tragedy had come about. These 
experiences might well have opened men's 
eyes; and, in this hope, the present writer 
took what seemed to him an opportune mo- 
ment in the war calamity, and did his best 
to bring before various personages the 
ideas underlying a healthy social organism, 
and the political attitude that these entail 
towards the world abroad. He addressed 
himself to prominent individuals, whose in- 
fluence at that time might still have been 
exerted to carry these social impulses into 
effect; and various persons, who had the 
destiny of the German people honestly at 
heart, took pains to gain admission for 
these ideas. All that was said was in vain. 
Every old habit of thought was up in arms 
against social impulses of this kind, which 
to a purely military cast of thought ap- 
peared quite impracticable, — something for 
which they had no use at all. The farthest 
they could get was : "Separation of Church 
and School," — yes, — there was something 
in that. The thoughts of the "statesman- 
like thinkers" had been running on lines 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 201 

of that sort for years, and would not be 
turned into any direction involving drastic 
change. Well-meaning people suggested 
my "publishing" these proposals, — most 
futile advise at that particular moment. 
What would have been the good of another 
treatise on these social impulses, in addi- 
tion to all the other current literature of 
the hour, — and coming from a private per- 
son too! From the very nature of such 
impulses, they could, at that time, only have 
carried weight through the quarter from 
which they were pronounced. Had a pro- 
nouncement in favour of these impulses 
been made from the right place, the peo- 
ples of Central Europe would have recog- 
nised the possibility of realising something 
that was in sympathy with their own more 
or less conscious tendencies. And the peo- 
ples of the Russian districts, East, would 
at that time most undoubtedly have recog- 
nised in these social impulses a practical 
solution to Czarism. That they could and 
would have recognised the significance of 
these impulses, is beyond dispute for any- 



202 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

one able to perceive the as yet unexhausted 
intellectual vigour of the peoples of East- 
ern Europe, and how receptive their minds 
are to healthy social ideas. However, there 
was no pronouncement in favour of these 
ideas; and, instead, came Brest-Litovsk, 

That military thinking could do nothing 
to avert the disaster from Central and 
Eastern Europe, could have been concealed 
from none but militarist minds. The 
cause of the German people's disaster was, 
that people would not recognise that the 
disaster could not be averted. They would 
not face the fact, that in those quarters, 
which had the deciding of affairs, there 
was no sense of the big, historic necessi- 
ties. Anyone, who knew anything of these 
historic necessities, also knew, that the 
English - speaking races had persons 
amongst them, who were able to read the 
forces at work amongst the peoples of 
Central and Eastern Europe, and that these 
persons were convinced, that there was 
something working up in Central and 
Eastern Europe which must find vent in 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 203 

tremendous social convulsions, — convul- 
sions of a sort for which they believed there 
to be no necessity nor occasion in the Eng- 
lish-speaking regions. They framed their 
own policy on these conclusions. In Cen- 
tral and Eastern Europe nothing was seen 
of all this, and the people there shaped their 
policy on lines which brought the whole 
thing "like a house of cards" about their 
ears. The only policy, which could have 
had a solid foundation, would have been 
one which recognised, that people in the 
English-speaking countries were handling 
the forces of world-history on large lines, 
and of course, naturally, from the English 
point of view. But to agitate in favour 
of such a policy would have been regarded 
as highly superfluous, — especially by the 
''diplomatists." 

So, instead of adopting a policy, which 
might have also have ensured the pros- 
perity of Central and Eastern Europe, — 
despite the large lines of English policy, — 
before the war-catastrophe swept over 
everything, the leaders still continued to 



204 THE THREEFOLD COMMONWEALTH 

run along the familiar diplomatic rails. 
And, even amidst the horrors of war, bit- 
ter experience still failed to teach them, 
when the manifesto came from America 
announcing the world's mission in politi- 
cal terms, that it must be met by another 
and a different one from Europe, born of 
the forces of Europe herself. Wilson had 
announced the world's mission from the 
American standpoint. Europe's sense of 
her mission would have been heard as a 
spiritual impulse above the roar of the 
guns. Between the two it would have been 
possible to effect an understanding. All 
other talk of mutual understanding rang 
hollow in face of the historic necessities. 
But those, whom circumstances brought to 
the head of affairs in the German Empire, 
lacked the perception which could make 
'them lay hold on the seeds of new growth 
in modern human life and embody them in 
a comprehensive aim. And, therefore, the 
autumn of 1918 could bring nothing but 
what it brought. The collapse of military 
power was accompanied by spiritual sur- 



INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS 205 

render. In this supreme hour, at least 
they might have roused themselves, have 
sought strength in the will and purpose of 
Europe, and made good the spiritual forces 
of the German people. Instead, they ab- 
dicated to Wilson's Fourteen Points. Wil- 
son was confronted by a Germany that had 
nothing to say on her own account. What- 
ever Wilson may think about his own 14 
points, he is nevertheless powerless to help 
Germany except as Germany is willing. 
He was bound to await a pronouncement 
of her will. The beginning of the war 
had already demonstrated the nullity of 
German policy. It was again demonstrated 
in October, 1918. So came that awful 
spiritual capitulation, at the hands of a 
man on whom numbers in German lands 
had staked as it were their last hope. 

Want of faith in insight based on the 
forces at work through history; — unwill- 
ingness to seek strength in impulses that 
proceed from a perception of spiritual 
facts: — The state of Central Europe was 
due to these two things. 



206 THE THREEFOLD COxMMONWEALTH 

And now, to-day, the circumstances con- 
sequent on the war-catastrophe have cre- 
ated a new situation. The idea that gives 
its stamp to the new situation can be that 
of the social impulses of mankind, as con- 
ceived in this book. These social impulses 
speak a language, towards which the whole 
civilised world has a responsibility. Has 
thought spent itself, and come to its dead- 
point before the social question as Central- 
European policy did before the problems 
of 1914? Some countries were able to 
stand aloof from the points that were then 
at issue. From the social movement they 
cannot stand aloof. This is a question that 
admits of no political adversaries and of 
no neutrals. Here, there must be but one 
human race working at one common task, 
willing to read the signs of the times and 
to act in accordance with them. 



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